Gingrich reflects fondly on negotiations with Clinton
July 27th, 2011
03:29 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich reflects fondly on negotiations with Clinton

Washington (CNN) – You know the debt ceiling debate has reached a new level of intensity when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich starts reminiscing about his 1995 government shutdown negotiations with former President Bill Clinton.

On Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate told New Hampshire radio station WNTK, "Bill Clinton was, in the end, willing to be practical ... We were able to sit down, face-to-face, and negotiate a deal. He really was so much further to the center than President Obama is, and he was so much more flexible than President Obama. I don't think there's any comparison of the environment."

Gingrich continued, "I think President Obama's trying to impose a very radical vision of America, and I think the result has been that is has been very hard to negotiate with him because as you watched him again last night, he basically says over and over again, 'I want what I want and I want what I want now. And I'm not going to accept anything except what I want,' and you can't govern the country by dictating terms like that. You've got to find some way to work together and define a common ground."

But Gingrich 's comments from 1995 reflect similar frustration with then-President Clinton. He complained repeatedly about Clinton choosing to play golf rather than engaging in negotiations and for Clinton hanging up the phone on Gingrich. Gingrich also faulted Clinton as "left-wing," for seeming "to hate working," as a failed leader and for contributing to "stalemate."

Also sixteen years ago, Gingrich said Clinton "deliberately frightens senior citizens" and "deliberately misinforms the American people." Another recurrent Gingrich theme was of Clinton "systematically" misleading the electorate.

Back then, Gingrich also sounded off on the difficulty of landing in-person meetings to negotiate with Clinton. At a November 1995 news conference, he said, "I don't know how you communicate and negotiate with somebody who hides behind their spokesman and who refuses to sit down in a meeting and negotiate in an open way."

In the end, Gingrich accomplished many of the policy goals he put forward in the "Contract With America" and President Clinton won re-election.

Last night on CNN's "John King, USA," Clinton friend and 1992 campaign strategist James Carville responded to Gingrich's new comments on Clinton.

"I'm sort of enamored that Newt Gingrich is now professed love for Bill Clinton when he was trying to run him out of office and was encouraging the $85 million spent to try to have a criminal prosecution against him," Carville said. "It's like, come on, Newt. Don't you know that we remember that kind of stuff? Please."

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • President Clinton • President Obama
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. GOP Hate America

    Clinton did not bend one inch and made you look stupid back then as you are now. Obama will do the same with the Bone-r

    July 27, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Former Republican, now an Independent

    I remember the days of Gingrich as speaker of the house and it was nothing like he says. If anything, he was more difficult than Boehner. Gingrich and DeLay were at the beginnings of the party of "No" and the conquering of the republican party by these "jihadist neo-cons". the size of government and the national debt grew at alarming rates under their watch and exploded from the Bush election forward. It seems mister Gingrich is either delusional, or a liar.

    July 27, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. TommyTT

    Spin, spin, spin. Obama has flexed and flexed, and now Newt is "fondly reminiscing" in a way that pretends Obama is inflexible. Baloney.

    July 27, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Chas in Iowa

    I don't seem to remember the same good times Newt does.
    I do remember him addressing congress to press impeachment charges against the president.

    July 27, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. lara9209

    given that newt hasn't been in one of the negotiations with the President ... a bit presumptuous of him ... don't you think?

    July 27, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. ART

    Dang did someone just fart, oh no its just GinGrinch speaking again.

    July 27, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |

    The Lizard needs fold up his broke campaign and slither away like he did when the Congress pimp slapped him in the 90s.These wingnuts never learn. They're ready to shutdown the government again.

    July 27, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. sara

    Agreed to Trillions in Debt reduction, Clinton raised WHY aren't your Sick party doing the honorable thing with THIS president. Day by Day, it is becoming Clearer that THIS is NOT about the Deficits.....It's about something MORE SICKER!
    Newt Grinch is NO BODY and this is presentation of the GOP. America need to Stand for Something or It will Fall for ANYthing!

    July 27, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Mikey

    @ The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE – The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends
    Comparing Obama to Clinton??? A more accurate comparison is Obama to Jimmy Carter
    Politically, Obama is like Clinton. However, the arc of his Presidency, so far, is also like Reagan's. I know you righties want to compare Obama to Carter, because you have dubed his Presidency a failure... and yes, it wasn't great – largely due to the global economic environment in the 1970's. That being said, he was a far cry better than GWB, who is on the short list for worst of all time. I could try to have a fact filled debate with you, but because you are all unsupported opinion and emotion (it seems hate driven by fear) that would be a waste of time. I think you need to get to the root of your irrational hatred of OUR President – it would do you a world of good.

    July 27, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. ChristoInferno

    Riiiiiight... And what would you say if you weren't planning on running against him for the presidency?

    So full of it.

    July 27, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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