Newt Gingrich Was For The Ryan Plan Before He Was Against It

As I noted yesterday, former Speaker Newt Gingrich pretty much threw the Ryan Plan’s Medicare reforms under the bus in a Meet The Press interview. Interestingly, Gingrich was singing a very different tune two weeks ago:

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a day following Newt Gingrich around New Hampshire. After a radio interview in Concord, Gingrich had a lunchtime Guinness at the Barley House in Concord with Thomas Wilhelmsen, the CEO of a local hospital who first met Gingrich in the mid-1990s. They lapsed into wonky talk about ObamaCare and health insurance premiums. “Every hospital administrator, like Tom here, will tell you it’s unsustainable, it can’t be done,” Gingrich said, explaining why he wants to repeal the law.

So, I asked if he would advocate replacing it with Paul Ryan’s plan.

The former speaker sang Ryan’s praises for being a “brave” “man of ideas,” like Gingrich himself.

“But would you have voted for Ryan’s plan?” I pressed.

“Sure,” Gingrich replied.

“Do you think it would actually save the health care system?”

“No, I think it’s the first step,” Gingrich said. “You need an entirely new set of solutions.”

Yesterday, of course, Gingrich called the plan “right wing social engineering.”

Ed Morrissey notes:

So one day it’s a good first step, and 14 days later, it’s several steps too far?  There are only a couple of plausible explanations for this change, and none of them complimentary to Gingrich.  The first is that he told Newton-Small that he’d have voted for the Ryan plan as a “first step” without bothering to read it first in order to ingratiate himself with the conservative base.  The second is that he read it, but it took him two weeks to understand it.  And the third is that Gingrich decided that most of his 2012 competition would back the Ryan plan and that he could get political space for himself by being a contrarian.  The fourth option is that Newton-Small is simply making up the story, which seems unlikely although not impossible.

I doubt Newton-Small is lying, so it’s either 1, 2, or 3, and none of them make Gingrich look good at all.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that Gingrich contradicted himself. He did the same thing back in March over the mission in Libya.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Deficit and Debt, Healthcare Policy, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    Well he’s gotten much larger over the years and he contains multitudes.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    The Newtster just doesn’t understand the what the whole health care issue is about…if someone gets sick you just divorce them…what’s the problem? And in the off chance you need some money you can always drum up contributions by teaching some propaganda to the faithful.