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Press Release - Newt on the Ryan Plan: Take Six

December 16, 2011

"Another day, another explanation from Speaker Gingrich on his confusing position on entitlement reform. The Speaker now says he was never referencing Paul Ryan at all when he labeled the Ryan plan ‘right-wing social engineering' and ‘radical change.' His inconsistent and contradictory statements are a clear example of what unreliable leadership looks like." —Ryan Williams, Romney spokesman

TAKE SIX — Speaker Gingrich Says He "Didn't Reference" Ryan in His Initial Comments:

Gingrich, Last Night: "If You Go Back To Look At The ‘Meet The Press' Quote, I Didn't Reference Him." GINGRICH: "If you go back to look at the ‘Meet the Press' quote, I didn't reference him. ... The only point I was making on ‘Meet the Press' is when you are going to have a major change, you have to communicate with the American people in order to ensure that they are for you. Governor Romney came up frankly with a very good variation on the Ryan Plan which allowed the maintenance of the current system. Paul has adopted that ... I endorsed the concept today." (Newt Gingrich, GOP Presidential Debate, 12/15/11)

NOTE: Gingrich Did Make Reference To Congressman Ryan. GINGRICH: "I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors. ... So there are things you can do to improve Medicare." QUESTION: "But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare." GINGRICH: "I think that that is too big a jump. ... I'm against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 5/15/11)

TAKE FIVE — "Very Important Breakthrough" and "Courageous":

Yesterday — After A Democratic Senator Joined Ryan's Efforts — Gingrich Called It "A Very Important Breakthrough" And "Courageous." GINGRICH: "We had today a very important breakthrough, in that there is a Wyden-Ryan Medicare reform bill that represents Senator Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, [and] Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. It is a bipartisan effort to really come to grips with one of the major entitlement challenges we face. And to have that bill introduced and have them publicly together talking about this is really a healthy — maybe it's the beginning of breaking up the logjam, and starting to get Democrats and Republicans to talk to each other, and I think that Paul Ryan and Ron Wyden deserve some real credit for having had — this is a very courageous thing for each of them to do, to reach out, come together, and offer a genuinely bipartisan bill given the atmosphere you have in Washington." (Newt Gingrich, Interview with Iowa Public Television, 12/15/11)

TAKE FOUR — Political "Suicide":

Last Week, Gingrich Described The Ryan Plan As "Suicide." GINGRICH: "What I was saying was in answer to a very specific question, which was: if there's a program which is very, very unpopular, should Republicans impose it? And my answer is no! When we passed welfare reform, 92% of the country favored it, including 88% of people on welfare. Reagan ran to be a popular president, not to maximize suicide. And I think conservatives have got to understand, you govern over the long run by having the American people think you're doing a good job, and think you're doing what they want." (Newt Gingrich, "Coffee & Markets" Podcast, 12/9/11)

"Gingrich Conceded That His Program Is Designed As A Modest Tweak To Medicare Advantage, And Decried Ryan's Plan As ‘Suicidal.'" "As the Wall Street Journal puts it, Gingrich's approach to our most important fiscal challenge is ‘merely a gloss on Medicare Advantage, which has done some modest good ... but without turning the fiscal battleship.' Indeed, in a Friday interview with Ben Domenech, Gingrich conceded that his program is designed as a modest tweak to Medicare Advantage, and decried Ryan's plan as ‘suicidal.'" (Avik Roy, "Newt Is The Problem," National Review, 12/12/11)

TAKE THREE — "What I Said Was True":

Last Month, Gingrich Affirmed His Critique Of The Ryan Plan: "What I Said Was True." QUESTION: "When you said about Paul Ryan and criticized his Medicare plan and right wing social engineering..." GINGRICH: "Look, it was a technical mistake, but what I said was true. I was asked the question should Republicans impose a plan if it is deeply unpopular. And I said something that was written about, right wing social engineering is as dangerous at left wing social engineering. I had a lot of my conservative friends mad at me, but in fact, Hayek wrote it because he was right." (Fox News' "Hannity," 11/30/11)

TAKE TWO — "Newt Apologized":

Gingrich Phoned Congressman Ryan To Apologize For His Remarks As He "Shifted Into Fervent Damage Control Following A Furious Conservative Reaction." "Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich apologized in a telephone call to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday afternoon for his remarks on ‘Meet the Press,' where the presidential candidate referred to Ryan's Medicare proposal as ‘radical change.' ‘Newt apologized,' said Rick Tyler, his press secretary ... Gingrich, his nascent campaign in jeopardy, has shifted into fervent damage control following a furious conservative reaction to his comments — and is even expressing a rare bit of contrition." (Mike Allen, "Newt Gingrich Apologizes To Paul Ryan," Politico, 5/17/11)

TAKE ONE — "Right-Wing Social Engineering" and "Radical Change":

Gingrich, In May: "I Don't Think Right-Wing Social Engineering Is Any More Desirable Than Left-Wing Social Engineering." GINGRICH: "I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors. ... QUESTION: "But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare." GINGRICH: "I think that that is too big a jump." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 5/15/11)

Mitt Romney, Press Release - Newt on the Ryan Plan: Take Six Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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