Newt Gingrich On His Meet The Press Appearance, And Where He Is On Obamacare
HH: I begin with the former speaker of the House of Representatives, candidate for president, Newt Gingrich. www.newt.org is his website. Mr. Speaker, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
NG: It’s great to be with you, and I’m delighted to have a chance to talk to you from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
HH: Well, I supposed you’re going to spend a lot of time in Iowa over the next nine months.
NG: Well, I think so. It’s a very exciting time.
HH: Let’s start with the controversy ignited yesterday on Meet The Press, your dust up with Paul Ryan. Where does it stand at the end of the day?
NG: Well, I hope that Paul and I can work together, find a way to save Medicare with the support and approval of the American people. I think the only think I was saying yesterday was that anytime you have change on this scale, you want to do it working with the American people, listening to them, giving them a chance to give you lots of input. When we did Welfare reform, which was the largest entitlement reform in our lifetime, we had 92% support with the American people, and 88% support from the people on welfare, because we had convinced them that giving people money for doing nothing was inherently destructive, and that we had to go to a better system. The result was two out of three people either went to work or went to school. I think people generally believe it’s the most successful social reform program enacted in our lifetime, certainly the biggest entitlement reform. And my concern is that we not come up with an idea in Washington, and then think we have an obligation to pass it without the American people having a dramatic amount of input. When you’re dealing with a program the size of Medicare, and a program which is in the personal lives of every American, they have to have a sense of ownership, and they have to have a sense of comfort that they are in the middle of the conversation. But Paul Ryan’s a very bright guy. I’m a big admirer of his. I wrote a column commending his overall budget. And I think that, and my hope is that he’s going to decide to go in this direction and have this kind of serious outreach to the American people.
HH: In a conversation on the Laura Ingraham show today with guest host Raymond Arroyo, Paul Ryan said, “with allies like that, who needs the left?” I think he was referring to your calling it right wing social engineering, Mr. Gingrich. Was that a bad choice of words on your part?
NG: Oh, it may have been, and I said it was a strong choice of words on my part. But it was also…my point simply…conservatives should not impose on the American people fundamental changes any more than liberals should. And I think having just lived through all of us being in a rage over Obama, who should have backed off after losing Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, should have decided to compromise, should have understood the American people opposed Obamacare, and instead just rammed it through. My only point for Republicans is be very careful when you’re dealing with an issue on this size, because you need to have the American people understand it. You need to listen carefully for their ideas and their advice and their improvements. And by the time you pass it, you need to have a pretty substantial majority that thinks you’re doing the right thing if you want to be given permission to continue to govern.
HH: Now you also had a statement put out by your campaign today about the individual mandate imposed by Obamacare, unequivocally denouncing it as unconstitutional. How did anyone get the idea that you were in favor of it?
NG: Well, this was one of those cases where it’s sort of gotcha news media. I was in the middle of Meet The Press, and they bring up an 18 year old clip from the time we were fighting Hillarycare. And at that time, the conservative alternative was buying individual insurance, instead of having your life turned over to the government. And so they had like a 40 second, or a 30 second clip of me talking about that at the time. That got translated, I actually did an interview with the person who wrote the most destructive article, and she said to me, you’re for a mandate. And I said no, I’m not. She said yes, you are. I said wait, you’re talking to me.
NG: I’m telling you I am not for a mandate. Well, she had to go through two articles. The first article came out this morning and said I was for it. The second article came out about Noon and said well, apparently he’s really not. But what happened, of course, is we live in a period when conservatives in particular are very, very sensitive to being sold out, and when conservatives in particular automatically assume the worst. And of course, there’s nothing the news media likes to do better than have conservatives fight conservatives.
NG: Now I’m not going to fight Paul Ryan. I support most of what he does. But I’d also say this, Hugh. When somebody who’s brilliant, and Paul is, brings up a $39 trillion dollar ten year plan, and I tell you there are two things I’m concerned about – science and Medicare, among friends, we ought to be able to have a conversation about those two topics without it meaning that we’re at war with each other, or that we’re in fundamental disagreement, and if we’re going to govern, we’re going to actually solve the problems of this country, we’re going to have lots of controversies. We’re going to have lots of periods of saying can we do it better, can we do it differently, how do we do it? I look forward to finding ways to keep moving this process forward, but I want to move it forward with the American people. And I want them to understand what we’re trying to accomplish.
HH: Hopefully, the primaries will bring a lot of good ideas forward. On Thursday, former Governor Romney put forward the idea of basically repealing Obamacare by waiver, just issuing waivers to all the states, and to any business that comes forward on the first day of the presidency. What do you think of that idea?
NG: Well, I think you should abolish Obamacare by repealing it. I am unequivocally for repealing the whole bill. I don’t trust the Washington process. I wouldn’t want to try to repeal part of it, because I wouldn’t trust the folks who are around at two o’clock in the morning cutting the final deals. I think you introduce a bill that says all of this is now gone, and you pass that bill. And I think a major issue on the campaign next year is going to be are you prepared to repeal Obamacare? And of course the President will be opposed to it. I think 60% of the country will be in favor of it. And I think the Republican position should be that we are for the complete and total repeal of Obamacare. And of course, as you know, because you and I have done this radio show so often, I founded the Center For Health Transformation. Anybody listening to us can go to www.healthtransformation.net and they’ll see nine years of work on trying to invent a center-right, market-oriented, personal responsibility, patient-doctor relationship model that replaces Washington-based health care. And they’ll also see, and they can download for free, the three best charts taking apart Obamacare that anybody has done. At the Center, we built three charts which total 118 square feet on your wall. And those three charts show you, one shows you the 1,968 grants of power to bureaucrats under Obamacare, one shows you the 159 new offices of the federal government under Obamacare, and then one shows you all the deadlines for 2020. Now for anybody think that I am anything except totally opposed to Obamacare is truly surprising to me.
HH: Now again, though, if we don’t get to 60 votes in the Senate, it’s going to be hard to repeal Obamacare, at least through reconciliation. What about waivering, though, to kill it as much as possible on Day One?
NG: Well, you could do that. We’re looking at an executive order project that would strip both the National Labor Relations Board, which is being very destructive in South Carolina, and it would strip all of the Obamacare things that you could do by waiver. But one of my goals would be to try to pick up 12 additional Senate seats so that you had, if you counted, I think you’ll get at least one Democrat with you, I think you could get to 60 votes.
HH: Telepathy. My next question is Boeing in South Carolina. You’ve already indicated, but tell the audience why this is so inimical to free enterprise what the Obama team is doing.
NG: Well, it’s not just inimical to free enterprise. It is a total outrage in terms of rule of law. Obama appointed a very radical board member of the National Labor Relations Board last year. The Democratic Senate wouldn’t even approve him, he was so radical. He then gave an interim appointment after the Congress went home. They then hired an interim executive general counsel who also has not been approved by the Senate. That interim general counsel actually had the temerity to then rule that Boeing could not open its plant in South Carolina, which it had not only built totally legally, but the President’s current chief of staff, when he was on the Boeing board, voted for the plant. So this is 8,000 jobs sitting in South Carolina that can’t be opened, Boeing losing money, both with the fact it’s sitting there, and with the legal fees and lobbying fees it’s now paying in this fight. And this is a threat to every single right to work state. And what Obama is trying to do, is whether it’s the Environmental Protection Agency, or the National Labor Relations Board, he’s trying to use the bureaucrats to change the rules as they are applied when you can’t change the law, because he can’t get it through Congress. And it’s a very dangerous threat to free enterprise, and it’s a dangerous threat to every right to work state in the country.
HH: All right, now to politics. Donald Trump said no más today.
HH: Your reaction, Newt Gingrich?
NG: Well, I think we’ll have a good field. I think, you know, we’re going to have Tim Pawlenty, we’re going to have Mitt Romney, we may well get Michele Bachmann, we may well get Mitch Daniels. It’ll be a good field of people. We already have Rick Santorum and Herman Cain and Ron Paul. And I think there are going to be several Republicans who are going to be very exciting and very positive people. And I think it’ll be a good campaign for the nomination, and then we need to all come together to make sure that we defeat Obama in the fall.
HH: Romney’s team is putting out today that he raised more than $10 million in his Las Vegas telethon. Can you keep up with that kind of fundraising, Newt Gingrich?
NG: Oh, no, I don’t think…if the only issue is money, I think that Mitt Romney, or Governor Huntsman, who I should have mentioned earlier, they both have such massive personal resources, I doubt if any of the rest of us can keep up with them. Luckily, as Ronald Reagan used to say, votes actually count, too.
HH: Newt Gingrich, thank you. I look forward to talking to you early and often. www.newt.org, America, to go get the latest updates from Newt Gingrich’s campaign.
End of interview.