Newt’s horrible, very bad, no good week
As we wait to see if Medicare reform will be an essential component of the debt-ceiling talks in Washington, Outliers is eager to see if the issue will also play a large role in next year’s presidential elections.
That question looms after GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich set off political fireworks when he told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s reform plan for the Medicare program is “too big a jump” and that he’s against drastic change—from either side of the political aisle.
In the May 15 interview, Gregory asked the former House speaker if Republicans “ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare” by implementing the premiumsupport model that House Republicans have proposed. “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” Gingrich responded.
The comments sparked heated reactions from conservatives. Ryan responded on a radio show by saying, “With allies like that, who needs the left?” Two days later, Gingrich phoned Ryan to apologize and the Wisconsin Republican accepted, according to an e-mail from a spokesman in Ryan’s office. Gingrich also appeared on Fox News Tuesday with Greta van Susteren, where he said he made two mistakes. First, he said he should have dismissed what he called a “hypothetical baloney question” from Gregory because Republicans don’t control the Senate or the White House. He said the second mistake related to some of the words he used.
“But I was trying to say something that’s really important,” he added. “We are at the beginning of a process of solving the entitlement problems of the United States. These are enormous challenges.”
After last week, the phrase “enormous challenges” not only describes discussions surrounding Medicare reform—it also describes what lies ahead for Gingrich on the campaign trail.