From POLITICAL HOTSHEET at CBS NEWS:
Newt Gingrich apologized on Tuesday to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for calling his Medicare plan “radical” and “right-wing engineering.”
Gingrich, who announced his presidential candidacy just last week, has come under fire in recent days for a series of missteps that some top Republicans believe have crippled his campaign right out of the gate.
Chief among the former House Speaker’s recent gaffes is a series of comments he made on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, in which he argued that Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal – and, namely, its plan for Medicare – was “radical change” and that we “need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare solution for seniors.”
“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,” Gingrich said during his appearance on the show.
In light of the criticism he has received as a result of his comments, however, Gingrich is now asking for Ryan’s forgiveness.
Appearing on Fox News’ “On the Record” with Greta van Susteren Tuesday night, Gingrich had a warning for any of his political opponents who may try to use his words against him.
“Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate,” he said.
According to the Associated Press, Ryan accepted Gingrich’s apology.
Whether or not the rest of the GOP will be as quick to forgive the candidate, however, has yet to be determined.
And here’s the latest spin. From USA Today:
GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich told Rush Limbaugh on Thursday that he wasn’t referring to Rep. Paul Ryan when referred to “right-wing social engineering” during a much-criticized appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“I want a government that is much more humble about its ability to tell you what to do whether it’s people on either side of the ideological spectrum,” said Gingrich, a former House speaker, on Limbaugh’s radio show. “And by the way it was not a reference to Paul Ryan, there was no reference to Paul Ryan in the answer.”
But when asked Thursday by Limbaugh why he apologized to Ryan if he was not referring to his plan, Gingrich said, “It was interpreted in a way which was causing trouble, which he doesn’t need or deserve and it was causing the House Republicans trouble.”
Here’s a partial transcript of what was said Sunday on the NBC program:
GREGORY: What about entitlements? The Medicare trust fund, in stories that have come out over the weekend, is now going to be depleted by 2024, five years earlier than predicted. Do you think that Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors.
GREGORY: …some premium support and–so that they can go out and buy private insurance?
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. …
GREGORY: But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare.
GINGRICH: I, I think that, I think, 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 don’t want to–I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.