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Press Release - Third Time's a Charm: Gingrich is Reliably Unreliable on The Ryan Plan

December 15, 2011

"When Republicans needed a leader to stand up against cap and trade, Speaker Gingrich did an ad with Nancy Pelosi about global warming. When Republicans took one of the most courageous votes I've seen in at least a decade to call for the reform of Medicare under the Paul Ryan plan, he goes public and says this is a ‘right-wing social engineering' plan. Recently he even called it ‘suicide.' I know it can be popular with some people to use extreme language, but we're talking about the presidency of the United States." —Mitt Romney

ROUND 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." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 5/15/11)

Gingrich Compared The Ryan Plan To Obamacare And Labeled It "Radical Change." QUESTION: "But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare." GINGRICH: "I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the ... 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)

ROUND TWO — "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)

ROUND THREE — 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)

Reaction To Speaker Gingrich's Ongoing Attack On Congressman Ryan's Reform Efforts:

Congressman Paul Ryan: "This is not the 1990s ... I, for one, believe the country is ready, they're hungry for it. They are ready to hear real solutions. We shouldn't wait around for the status quo to become popular. Leaders don't follow the polls, leaders change the polls. ... We have moved so far in advancing entitlement reform, not just in Congress but in this [presidential] race, with most of the candidates embracing comprehensive entitlement reform. ... We should not shy away from this fight, even though we know the Democrats will demagogue us." (Robert Costa, "Ryan To Gingrich: ‘This Is Not The 1990s,'" National Review, 12/14/11)

National Review's Avik Roy: "It was bad enough that Gingrich attacked the Ryan plan on substantive grounds. (Apparently, in Newt's world, everybody is a radical except Newt.) ... Newt's outburst shows us how the former speaker usually ends up destroying, rather than advancing, thoughtful conservative reforms." (Avik Roy, "Newt Is The Problem," National Review, 12/12/11)

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin: "Ryan is so popular and the attack on him by the left for his Medicare reform plan so galling to conservatives that the episode supports the claim that Gingrich is unpredictable and disloyal to conservatives. Because it happened in the current campaign, not in the 1990s, it may have more impact." (Jennifer Rubin, "Gingrich Is The One Suffering From Debate Fallout," The Washington Post, 12/12/11)

The Wall Street Journal: "After denouncing Paul Ryan's premium support Medicare reform as ‘right-wing social engineering' in May, Mr. Gingrich now says he supports it as long as it is only voluntary... This model may be politically safer and perhaps more saleable to voters, but it also does little to improve the status quo. Why would anyone leave the all-you-can-eat buffet without an incentive to choose cost-conscious options?" (Editorial, "The Newtitlement State," The Wall Street Journal, 12/9/11)

Fox News' Brit Hume: "[W]hen Newt Gingrich feels threatened or upstaged, he sometimes reaches for whatever weapon comes to hand and just starts swinging. Just ask Paul Ryan." (Fox News' "Special Report," 12/12/11)


Mitt Romney, Press Release - Third Time's a Charm: Gingrich is Reliably Unreliable on The Ryan Plan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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