Skip to comments.Bill Bennett to Gingrich: You’re Shooting at [Paul Ryan] From Behind! (Testy Radio Interview)
Posted on 05/17/2011 11:33:47 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
I would contend Newt Gingrich’s interview with Bill Bennett this morning did not go well for the candidate. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Bennett, one of the most patient and courteous hosts in talk radio, so exasperated with a guest:
Bill Bennett: We had some tough comments about you, want to give you a chance to respond. Let me put it this way: Is there anything about this Meet the Press interview that you would like to either take back or clarify today?
Newt Gingrich: Yeah, there’s a lot that I would like to clarify, but let me start by just saying something that I think you will fully understand. I don’t think I realized until after Sunday’s Meet the Press how big a threat my candidacy is to the Washington establishment. Think about that show. I go into the show, and I’m hit first with, ‘if you tell the truth about President Obama having food stamps than any other president in history, you’re a racist.’ Then I’m told later in the panel discussion by E.J. Dionne that if you even mention Detroit, you’re a racist…
Finally they ask me totally loaded question that I probably should have stepped back from and answered totally differently, asking me if you were in a position where you had to vote yes or no, on something the American people did not want, would you ram it through?
Now we had just been through Obama doing precisely that with Obamacare. So I suddenly find myself – having spent two and a half years fighting against Obamacare from the Center for Health Transformation which I founded, to help migrate us to a center-right, personally-oriented, market-oriented system – with everything that I’ve said for two and a half years opposing Obamacare, suddenly by late Sunday afternoon, people are confused about where I stand. I then turn, and with Paul Ryan, who I have praised, I have written newsletters about, I have talked about his budget, I said it was courageous, I said it was a tremendous step in the right direction, suddenly I’m supposed to be, as the Wall Street Journal writes this morning, telling House Republicans to ‘drop dead.’ Now that’s just plain baloney.
… a very narrow question. I am totally for what Paul Ryan is trying to do in general terms. I’m actually for more change over the next ten years. This budget is the beginning stage of the scale of change we need. And yet somehow to the Washington elites, that somehow becomes almost a caricature of what I’ve done throughout my entire career.
Bennett: …When you say you’re totally for what Paul Ryan is for and the Washington elites, that’s not what I heard. Maybe I’m part of the Washington elite. That’s not what the Journal heard. That’s not what Krauthammer heard, that’s not what Rush heard, that’s not what Mark Levin heard. That’s not what the listeners to this show heard. We heard you equate Paul Ryan’s plan with Obama’s plan. ‘Right-wing social engineering vs. left-wing social engineering.’ Why the hit on Ryan? It was clearly and unambiguously a criticism of Ryan.
Newt: That’s not a criticism of Ryan as a person.
Bennett: Not as a person, as a plan.
Newt: It is a criticism of — what I said was, you shouldn’t impose radical change!
Bennett: He’s not imposing radical change! How’s he imposing it? He can’t impose it. We don’t have the Senate and White House.
Newt: So since we can’t, then you can say we can all relax because he can’t do it. [Crosstalk] I was asked the question, would you do that? I wasn’t asked a question about where I stood on Ryan; I was asked, ‘should Republicans pass a plan that is unpopular’?
Bennett then plays the audio from Sunday:
Gregory: 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… 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.
Returning to the interview:
Bennett: Why characterize the Ryan plan as right-wing social engineering, and call for a national conversation when we’re in the middle of a national conversion?
Newt: Well, to the degree we are in the middle of a national conversation, and the plan is open to change, and our goal is to move forward and modify and improve the plan, as opposed to either sell it or pass it, I’m for it.
Bennett: No one, Newt, no one took away from your comments on Meet the Press that you’re for it. No one. Left, right, no one.
Newt: Well, I just said I am for the process improving it, I didn’t say I was for the plan as it currently exists. I think that is an important distinction, Bill. I don’t think the job of House Republicans is only to sell the current plan. I think the job of House Republicans is to say, ‘this is the right scale of solution we need for the country, how do we improve this, and how do we get it to be acceptable, what do you American people need to know about this so that when it does pass, you will be glad it passed and you will help implement it?’
A few moments later…
Bennett: You’re equated Ryan’s plan on the right to Obama’s plan on the left. What the Journal said, and what I said yesterday, we’re in the middle of this fight, we’re in the middle of this debate, Ryan’s in the fight of his life, and you’re shooting at him from behind, saying this is just right-wing Obama-ism. This is what I think really rankles people.
Newt: I didn’t say it was right wing Obama-ism.
Bennett: You said it was right-wing social engineering! Even worse!
Newt: Look, if it’s imposed on the country, which was the context of the conversion– which Obamacare is and was!
(audible chuckle from Bennett)
Bennett: It was! But there’s not a chance Ryan’s can be! It can’t be! He’s trying to persuade people!
slip, slither, slide...
Newtie’s for OBAMACARE or something very similar. This guy is unbelieveable.
Newt is a JACKA**!
Does no one care that Ryan’s budget accepts obummers base line and 900 billion in stimulus spending slush funding every year forever. This crap with newt, is classic gagging at a gnat while swallowing a camel.
I have been a partisan of Newt in the past but not recently. He started to lose me with the news of the cheating on his wife(s) and that idiot climate change ad where he sat with Nancy Pelosi. But still I told myself that he seemed to be one of the smarter people running until this weekend. This was a fork in the road and Newt took that fork square in the belly and now he is toast. I’d say he quits the race in the next couple of weeks.
Talk about a precipitous fall.
Why is he ticking off the very voters he needs to vote for him to get the nomination?
He should be called on it, as Bennett did. That's not to say, however, that Ryan's plan, or any other Republican which came to incorporate coercive government mandates shouldn't be debated and criticized.
Newt. Denial is not a river in Eqypt.
Because he’s one of those people that is so smart that he’s stupid.
Newtie doesn’t lack for ego that’s for sure.
The audio of the voter dressing gingrich down was priceless. I think he said something like “Why don’t you get out of the race before you make a bigger fool of yourself”
No, he is not for Obamacare.
The problem is in trying to indentify what is he for, and why his choice of words describing Ryan’s Medicare reform plan were so incendiary.
You’re getting the issue of the personal mandate to purchase health insurance mixed up with the entire Obamacare plan which was thousands of pages and gave Sebilius power to write millions of pages of regulations.
Newt denies he is for Obama’s brand of mandate. There’s controversy over that because he seems to be for some version of a mandate which is yet to be well defined. So by default, many people just assumed he’s for the Obama mandate.
There is no evidence that he’s for Obamacare in general, and considerable evidence that he is not.
I did hear Bennett’s interview with Newt. He took him to the woodshed like the parent of a wayward kid.
Newt said he had a call into Paul Ryan and hoped to resolve the matter.
Newt is a politician. Never get nailed down.
No you jackass! You are and long have been a part of the Washington establishment. Withdraw, get out of the way and find a dark hole to stay in until we can elect a real conservative. Take mitt the twit with you.
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel
And these two wets persist in calling themselves conservatives. Gag me with a spoon.
That guy spoke for me.
At the rate he’s digging, expect Newt to be shaking hands with a Chinese farmer at any moment.