Newt Gingrich: A History Of Hypocrisy

May 11, 2011 12:18 pm ET

As disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich tweets his way into the GOP presidential race for 2012, we are reminded of his outstanding record of political and moral malfeasance in his decades-long effort to promote himself. From his personal and professional ethical transgressions to his crusade against the working class, Gingrich continues to thrive in the shadows of fiscal corruption and the spotlight of right-wing hyperbole. Despite his rocky marital past and remarkably hypocritical and extremist rhetoric, Gingrich unabashedly vaunts himself as the country's moral compass without a hint of irony, consistently waging an ideological war in an effort to maintain his own relevance.

"Family Values"

War On The Poor

Anti-Gay Rhetoric

Religious Bigotry

Racist And Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Extreme Rhetoric Against Obama And Democrats

Sticky Ethical Situations

Hypocrisy

"Family Values"

In Campaign, Gingrich Used "Family Values" Platform To Attack Female Opponent With Charge She Would Leave Her Husband Behind While In Washington. From Vanity Fair: "Another Gingrich theme in that campaign was moral leadership and family values. He drove the point home with an ad claiming that if Shapard were elected to Congress she would leave her husband, a local businessman, behind, while Gingrich would keep his family together. This issue was a subject of particular irony among the Shapard campaign staffers, where gossip about Gingrich's roving eye was widely believed and it was assumed that the Gingrich marriage was on the verge of breaking up. 'As the days dwindled down in the end of the campaign,' Shapard says, 'the campaign workers had an unofficial pool going on to see how long it would take him when he got to Washington to dump [Jackie.]'" [Vanity Fair, July 1989, via PBS.org]

  • Meanwhile, Gingrich Used Wife He Had Cheated On To Write Letter Saying He Was A Family Man. As Salon explains: "Jackie Gingrich raised the daughters, worked to put Newt through graduate school and was a loyal political wife during his two unsuccessful campaigns for Congress in 1974 and 1976. In his make-or-break 1978 race, Gingrich enlisted Jackie to attack his female opponent, who had announced that if elected she would commute to Washington and allow her family to remain in Georgia. At Gingrich's instigation, Jackie wrote a campaign letter declaring that Newt was a fine husband and would take his family with him, although his top aides already knew Gingrich was having affairs and the marriage was falling apart." [Salon, 8/28/98]

Gingrich Presented First Wife With Divorce Terms "While She Was Recovering From Uterine Cancer" At A Hospital. According to Esquire: "At first, [Gingrich's second wife, Marianne Ginther,] had no idea that the wife he was divorcing was actually his high school geometry teacher, or that he went to the hospital to present her with divorce terms while she was recovering from uterine cancer and then fought the case so hard, Jackie had to get a court order just to pay her utility bills. Gingrich told her [Marianne] the story a little at a time, trusting her with things that nobody else knew - to this day, for example, the official story is that he started dating Jackie when he was eighteen and she was twenty-five. But he was really just sixteen, she [Marianne] says." [Esquire, 8/10/10]

While Married To Second Wife, Gingrich Carried On Six-Year Affair With Congressional Staffer. According to the New York Times: "Today, Ms. Bisek is Mrs. Gingrich, married for 11 years, but perhaps best remembered for the six-year affair that contributed to her husband's political downfall. His critics cast Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker, as a hypocrite who sought to impeach a president over infidelity while engaging in it himself with Ms. Bisek, who was a Congressional aide." [New York Times, 5/9/11]

Gingrich Claimed His Infidelity Was "Partially Driven By How Passionately I Felt About This Country." Gingrich told the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody: "There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn't trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them." [CBN, 3/8/11]

Gingrich Justified His Hypocrisy On Family Values: "People Need To Hear What I Have To Say." According to Esquire:

He'd just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he'd given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She [Marianne] said, "How do you give that speech and do what you're doing?"

"It doesn't matter what I do," he answered. "People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live." [Esquire, 8/10/10]

War On The Poor

Gingrich Proposed Denying Welfare Benefits To Young Mothers And Their Children And Diverting Those Funds To Establish Orphanages. According to the New York Times: "One proposal endorsed by Mr. Gingrich would allow states to deny cash subsidies to single teen-age mothers and use the money instead for group homes for unwed mothers and their children -- or orphanages for their children. While some adolescents can benefit from living in small group homes, the North American Council on Adoptable Children says many infants and young children raised in institutions have a hard time sustaining healthy personal relationships." [New York Times, 12/12/94]

Gingrich: Unemployment Insurance Gives People "A Perverse Incentive To Stay On Unemployment Rather Than Accept A Job." In an email to Human Events subscribers, Gingrich wrote: "For instance, the extension of unemployment benefits has given people a perverse incentive to stay on unemployment rather than accept a job. [...] The depth and length of this recession is at risk of creating a permanent pool of unemployed Americans, who get so used to being unproductive that they are willing to accept welfare indefinitely instead of taking a job." [Gingrich Email, 8/11/10, emphasis added, via Political Correction]

Gingrich: Union Workers Have Become A "Special Class In America." In an interview on Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich said:

The only place I worry about in terms of the kind of riots you were showing is not Americans in general. I believe the scale of change coming to government workers is gonna be so great that you may well see in places like Sacramento or Albany, New York, very serious unrest by union members who are offended at the idea that they should actually earn in proportion to the taxpayer, and not be the new, uh, special class in America, which is what they've become over the last 20 years. [Meet the Press, 11/14/10]

Anti-Gay Rhetoric

2008: Gingrich Warned Of "Gay Secular Fascism In This Country." According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Gingrich told Bill O'Reilly on Fox News:

"I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, is prepared to use harassment.

"I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.

"And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact - for that matter, if you believe in the historic version of Islam or the historic version of Judaism, you have to confront the reality that these secular extremists are determined to impose on you acceptance of a series of values that that are antithetical, that are the opposite." [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/23/08]

Gingrich Told Anti-Gay Radio Host Bryan Fischer He Would Slow The Progress Of Gay Rights If Elected President. According to the Advocate:

Former House speaker and possible presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said he is going to work on slowing down the progress of gay rights, if he is elected president.

"I think my emphasis would be pro-classical Christianity," Gingrich said in a video interview with Bryan Fischer of the antigay American Family Association after addressing the Rediscover God in America conference, held over the weekend in Iowa.

He cited the end of adoption services in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., by Catholic-based organizations because their policies limiting the rights of gay and lesbian adoptive parents violated laws put in place after the legalization of marriage equality in both areas. [Advocate, 3/28/11]

Religious Bigotry

Gingrich Condemned Building Of Islamic Center In Lower Manhattan With Suggestion That "Islamists" Behind It Aren't "Serious About Religious Toleration." From a statement released by Gingrich:

Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for "religious toleration" are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.

And they lecture us about tolerance.

If the people behind the Cordoba House were serious about religious toleration, they would be imploring the Saudis, as fellow Muslims, to immediately open up Mecca to all and immediately announce their intention to allow non-Muslim houses of worship in the Kingdom. They should be asked by the news media if they would be willing to lead such a campaign. [Gingrich statement, 7/21/10, via BatteryParkCity.com]

  • On The Same Day, Gingrich Warned "A Commitment To Religious Freedom And God-Given Rights Is Being Replaced By A Secular Oppression." From a Gingrich piece in Human Events:

A commitment to religious freedom and God-given rights is being replaced by a secular oppression that increasingly resembles the government-imposed atheism of Soviet totalitarianism. (I encourage you to watch the documentary Nine Days that Changed the World, which Callista and I host and produced, to learn about the plight of the Polish people under Communism and the brave moral leadership of Pope John Paul II that helped topple the Soviet Union.) [Human Events, 7/21/10]

Gingrich Likened Organizers Of Islamic Center Near Ground Zero To Nazis Putting Up Signs Near Holocaust Museum. According to the Huffington Post: "Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich minced no words Monday morning when he called organizers of the 'Ground Zero Mosque' 'radical Islamists' seeking 'supremacy.' He went on to say that building an Islamic cultural center two blocks away from the former site of the World Trade Center towers would be akin to Nazis putting up signs near the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C." [Huffington Post, 8/16/10]

Gingrich: America Could Become "A Secular Atheist Country, Potentially One Dominated By Radical Islamists." According to CNN: "Hours after declaring Sunday that he expects to be running for president within a month, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he's worried the United States could be 'a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists,' in the foreseeable future, according to Politico." [CNN, 4/28/11]

Gingrich Has Often Warned Of A "Stealth Jihad." According to Newsweek:

In the words of former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at a July speech at the American Enterprise Institute, "stealth jihad" is an effort "to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Sharia."

The term wasn't Gingrich's invention. It's the title of a two-year-old book by Robert Spencer, whose hyperventilating antiterror blog, Jihad Watch, is cited and circulated widely on the far right. But the recent vicious debate over the proposed community center and mosque near Ground Zero gives Gingrich an excuse to use "stealth jihad" and its variants frequently-not just at the AEI but in an interview with this magazine. (In an essay on the conservative Web site Human Events, he referred instead to "creeping sharia.") [Newsweek, 8/28/10]

Gingrich Warned "Totally Abhorrent" Principle Of Islam Is Its Attempt To Impose Religious Beliefs On Others. In a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Gingrich said:

Sharia in its natural form has principles and punishments totally abhorrent to the Western world, and the underlying basic belief, which is that law comes directly from God and is therefore imposed upon humans and no human can change the law without it being an act of apostasy, is a fundamental violation of a tradition in the Western system which goes back to Rome, Athens and Jerusalem and which has evolved and given us freedom across the planet on a scale we can hardly imagine and which is now directly threatened by those who would impose it. [Gingrich Remarks, 7/29/10, via YouTube]

Racist And Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

Gingrich In 1995: Poor Blacks Fail To Acquire Wealth Partly Because Of Their "Habits." As reported by the Washington Post:

He acknowledged that it was more "difficult to acquire wealth as a black in America," but added that more than skin color is at play. "The truth is that preachers and lawyers have been more dominant in the black culture in the last 40 years than have business people," said Gingrich. "The habits of the church and the habits of the lawsuit have been more powerful than the habits of acquisition and the habits of job creation." [...]

Gingrich, who has been intimately involved in District affairs, also was asked to respond to the suspicions of some residents that Republican interest in the city is part of a "conspiracy to boot out the black-run government" and "roust out" poor blacks.

"I understand the fear," he said. "What I want to do is transform Anacostia so the people currently living there are able to participate in the transformation so that five or 10 years from now they have new habits. Let me be very clear about this: I'm prepared to say to the poor, 'You have to learn new habits. The habits of being poor don't work. So yes, you've got to change.'" [Washington Post, 6/16/95, via Seattle Times]

Gingrich: Bilingual Classes Teach "Language Of Living In A Ghetto." According to the Washington Post: "Former House speaker Newt Gingrich yesterday described bilingual education as teaching 'the language of living in a ghetto,' and he mocked requirements that ballots be printed in multiple languages. [...] 'The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. . . . We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,' Gingrich said." [Washington Post, 4/1/07]

Gingrich Warned "Bilingualism Poses 'Long-Term Dangers To The Fabric Of Our Nation.'" According to the Washington Post: "In the past, Gingrich has supported making English the nation's official language. He has also said that all U.S. children should learn English and that other languages should be secondary in schools. In 1995, he said that bilingualism poses 'long-term dangers to the fabric of our nation' and that 'allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous.'" [Washington Post, 4/1/07]

Gingrich Called Then-Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor A "Racist." According to ABC:

Referring to former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's saying that "a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases," [Sonia] Sotomayor said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

On Wednesday afternoon, Gingrich wrote on Twitter: "Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman' new racism is no better than old racism."

"White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw," Gingrich wrote. [ABC, 5/27/09]

  • Gingrich Defended Comments Calling Justice Sotomayor A Racist A Year Later. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Gingrich said: "What I said about Sotomayor I think still stands, which was, the statements she made were clearly racist. Now I don't know, have any idea in her heart whether she's a racist, but you go back and look at her exact quotes, and they were quotes which if you put in white male instead of Latina, you would absolutely say that was the statement of a racist." [Fox News Sunday, 7/25/10]

Extreme Rhetoric Against Obama And Democrats

Gingrich: "Obama May Follow A 'Kenyan, Anti-Colonial' World View." According to National Review:

Citing a recent Forbes article by Dinesh D'Souza, former House speaker Newt Gingrich tells National Review Online that President Obama may follow a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview.

Gingrich says that D'Souza has made a "stunning insight" into Obama's behavior - the "most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama."

"What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?" Gingrich asks. "That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."

"This is a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president," Gingrich tells us. [National Review, 9/11/10]

Gingrich Called Obama "The Most Radical President In History" And Democrats A "Secular-Socialist Machine." In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Gingrich writes: "Although its actions may seem like 'centrism' to some, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid system is clearly a secular-socialist machine. And Obama is the most radical president in American history." [Washington Post, 4/23/10]

Gingrich: Liberals Are "As Great A Threat To America As Nazi Germany Or The Soviet Union." In his book To Save America, Gingrich wrote: "The America in which we grew up is vastly different from the America the secular-socialist Left want to create. And that's why saving America is the fundamental challenge of our time. The secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did." [To Save America, 2010, via MSNBC]

  • Gingrich Repeatedly Defended Statement Comparing Democrats To Nazis. According to ThinkProgress:

Gingrich has repeatedly defended this claim, telling both NBC's Meredith Vieira and Fox News' Chris Wallace that he truly believes that the Obama administration is an equivalent "threat" to America as brutal dictators like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin:

VIEIRA: Can you honestly compare what's going on with the Democrats with Nazi Germany?

GINGRICH: No it's not a question of how evil they were. Nazi Germany was terrible, Stalin's Russia was terrible, Mao's China was terrible. It's a question of finality. Had we lost either of those contests, we would have become a radically different country.

* * * *

WALLACE: So - but you compare that to the Nazis and the Communists?

GINGRICH: I compare that as a threat.

[ThinkProgress, 5/18/10]

Gingrich: Democrats Are Consumed "By A Mussolini-Like Ego." From a Mother Jones timeline of Gingrich statements:

1989 "These people are sick," he says of congressional Democrats. "They are so consumed by their own power, by a Mussolini-like ego, that their willingness to run over normal human beings and to destroy honest institutions is unending." He also warns that unless the Democrats are stopped, "we may literally see our freedom decay and decline." [Mother Jones, 4/7/11]

Gingrich: Democrats "Represent The Party Of Total Hedonism." From a Mother Jones timeline of Gingrich statements: 

1989 Gingrich lays out his electoral roadmap: "The left-wing Democrats will represent the party of total hedonism, total exhibitionism, total bizarreness, total weirdness, and the total right to cripple innocent people in the name of letting hooligans loose." [Mother Jones, 4/7/11]

Gingrich Called The Democratic Party The "Party Of Food Stamps." In a memo, Gingrich wrote:

It is an unassailable fact that in June, more food stamps were distributed by the government than ever before in American history ... (It turns out that Barack Obama's idea of spreading the wealth around was spreading more food stamps around.) [...]

You can use this vivid contrast between the record of the Pelosi-Reid Democratic Congress and the last time the Republican Party took control of Congress to powerfully illustrate the difference for every American between the Democratic Party of food stamps and the Republican Party of paychecks. [Gingrich memo, 10/5/10, via Politico]

Gingrich Ridiculed Stimulative Effect Of Food Stamps As "Liberal Math." According to ThinkProgress:

But Gingrich couldn't quite wrap his head around the fact that food stamps have a stimulative effect on the economy:

GINGRICH: Well, you know, I carry around a bumper sticker that says 2 plus 2 equals 4. So I'd be very curious how a dollar given to somebody becomes a $1.79. And I think if we could get that to work with the U.S. Treasuries, so if people gave the Treasury $1,000, it became $1,790, we could pay off the federal debt and never worry about spending or anything. I mean, I - you know, somehow, I don't understand how liberal math turns $1 into $1.79.

ThinkProgress, 10/7/10, emphasis in original]

Gingrich Advises GOP Candidates To Slur Democrats With Words Like "Sick," "Traitors," And Anti-Flag. From Mother Jones:

1990 Gingrich's political action committee, GOPAC, sends out a memo titled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" to several thousand Republican candidates running for state and local offices. It includes a list of words they should use to describe Democrats:

decay, failure (fail) collapse(ing) deeper, crisis, urgent(cy), destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, unionized bureaucracy, "compassion" is not enough, betray, consequences, limit(s), shallow, traitors, sensationalists, endanger, coercion, hypocricy, radical, threaten, devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive attitude, destructive, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, insecure, anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs; pessimistic, excuses, intolerant, stagnation, welfare, corrupt, selfish, insensitive, status quo, mandate(s) taxes, spend (ing) shame, disgrace, punish (poor...) bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, abuse of power, machine, bosses, obsolete, criminal rights, red tape, patronage.

[Mother Jones, 4/7/11]

Sticky Ethical Situations

Jack Abramoff: "I Have More Pictures Of [Newt] Than I Have Of My Wife." From a Vanity Fair interview with Jack Abramoff:

There are other people from Abramoff's more distant past who also never knew him, such as former Republican House Speaker (and rumored 2008 presidential candidate) Newt Gingrich, who first never met Abramoff during the latter's firebrand days atop the College Republicans. "Before his picture appeared on TV and in the newspapers, Newt wouldn't have known him if he fell across him. He hadn't seen him in 10 years," Gingrich's spokesman, Rick Tyler, tells me. That this especially rankles Abramoff becomes clear as he rummages through a box of old memorabilia with me. "Here's [former Republican Texas congressman and House majority leader] Dick Armey," he tells me. "Here's Newt. Newt. Newt. [Former president Ronald] Reagan. More Newt. Newt with Grover [Norquist, the Washington conservative Republican Über-strategist and longtime Abramoff friend] this time, and with [Seattle arch-conservative Republican] Rabbi [Daniel] Lapin. But Newt never met me. [Indicted Iran-contra figure and longtime Abramoff friend] Ollie North. Newt. Can't be Newt ... he never met me. Oh, Newt! What's he doing there? Must be a Newt look-alike. I have more pictures of him than I have of my wife. Newt again! It's sick! I thought he never met me!" [Vanity Fair, April 2006]

  • Jack Abramoff Convicted On Corruption Charges. As reported by the New York Times: "Jack Abramoff, the onetime flamboyant lobbyist who amassed a fortune by showering gifts on Congressional and executive branch officials while bilking Indian tribes of millions of dollars, was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison. Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of Federal District Court here ordered that Mr. Abramoff serve the time for corruption and tax offenses uncovered by an influence-peddling investigation that touched Republican leaders in Congress and midlevel officials in the Bush administration, among others. Judge Huvelle said Mr. Abramoff had engaged in 'a consistent course of corrupt conduct.'" [New York Times9/4/08]

Gingrich Was Investiged By The House Ethics Committee For Using Tax-Exempt Groups To Fund Political Activities. According to the Washington Post:  

The heart of the ethics committee case against House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) involves his use of charitable organizations to subsidize his partisan political activities -- a practice he suggests he could have avoided had he consulted a lawyer and not been so "naive" about the intricacies of the tax code.

But over the years Gingrich and his top advisers have tried repeatedly to use tax-deductible donations to help promote their political goals, a review of his record shows. Indeed, the availability of groups that could take tax-deductible donations was integral to his ultimately successful plan to wrest control of the House from the Democrats. [Washington Post, 1/7/97]

  • House Ethics Committee Recommended "Unprecedented Reprimand" For Gingrich. From the Washington Post:

The House ethics committee recommended last night that House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) face an unprecedented reprimand from his colleagues and pay $300,000 in additional sanctions after concluding that his use of tax-deductible money for political purposes and inaccurate information supplied to investigators represented "intentional or . . . reckless" disregard of House rules. [Washington Post, 1/18/97]

  • Gingrich Paid $300,000 Penalty For Ethics Violations. According to the Washington Post:

Speaker Newt Gingrich has completed payment of a $300,000 penalty imposed for violations of House rules, the ethics committee said Wednesday.

Gingrich made the final payment of $150,000, the committee said, and "has now satisfied in full" the obligation imposed in January 1997.

The outgoing speaker originally arranged a loan from ex-Sen. Bob Dole to help with the payments but decided instead to handle the penalty from personal funds.

Gingrich, who also was reprimanded by the House two years ago, admitted he misled the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and should have sought better legal advice before using tax-exempt organizations to advance his political goals. [Washington Post, 12/30/98]

Gingrich Brokered Anonymous $200,000 Donation For Campaign Against Iowa Supreme Court Judges Who Favored Same-Sex Marriage. The Los Angeles Times reports:

In recent years, Gingrich has met privately with pastors best known nationally for their campaigns against same-sex marriage, sharing deeply personal details about his marital history as he expresses contrition for his past actions.

Gingrich has also provided financial and strategic support for their causes. Last fall, he played a key behind-the-scenes role in an unprecedented - and successful - campaign to remove three Iowa Supreme Court judges who approved same-sex marriage in the state, helping secure $200,000 in seed money for the effort. [...]

'It wouldn't have happened without Newt,' said David Lane, executive director of Iowa for Freedom, the organization that led the campaign. 'Newt provided strategic advice and arranged the initial seed money, about $200,000, which is what got everything started.'

The money came from an anonymous donor whose contribution was arranged by Gingrich, Lane said." [Los Angeles Times, 3/3/11]

Former Adviser: Gingrich Is "Making More Money Than He Ever Thought Possible And Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone Where It's Coming From." According to the Washington Post:

Having been formally reprimanded by the House in 1997 for violations associated with the political use of tax-exempt organizations -- which were structured similarly to the new center -- Gingrich decided that a nonprofit would have invited enormous scrutiny. Organizing as a for-profit company, however, permits him to operate "under the radar," Tyler said.

"He's making more money than he ever thought possible and doesn't have to tell everybody where it's coming from," marveled former adviser Rich Galen. [Washington Post, 7/13/07, emphasis added]

Gingrich Has Become "A Well-Paid Broker Of Ideas And Influence." According to the New York Times: "But public life in America is full of second acts. And Mr. Gingrich, 61, already has one -- as a well-paid broker of ideas and influence in the field of health care policy. He has become probably the most visible spokesman for a set of ideas about health care that is gaining support in the Bush administration and in business." [New York Times, 1/16/05]

Non-Profit Gingrich Organization Promotes For-Profit Gingrich Organization. As Political Correction reported: "In preparation for today's health care summit at the White House, Newt Gingrich's American Solutions is actively promoting a live health care discussion held by the Center for Health Transformation, a 'corporate for-profit organization' also founded by Gingrich. While this type of cross-promotion may be legal, it is definitely not in good taste. When grassroots donors (or giant coal companies) donated money to Gingrich's American Solutions, they almost certainly didn't expect their contributions to fund efforts to promote Gingrich's separate for-profit ventures." [Political Correction, 2/25/10]

Hypocrisy

As Speaker, Gingrich Wanted To Cut Medicare Spending By 14 Percent. According to a 1995 New York Times article: "The Republicans seek to cut $270 billion, or 14 percent, from projected Medicare spending during the next seven years. The magnitude of the savings is dictated by the Republicans' plan to balance the budget in seven years, a blueprint approved by both houses of Congress in June. But Republicans say the main reason for their Medicare proposals is to prevent the program's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund from going bankrupt." [New York Times, 9/16/95]

  • Pundit Gingrich: It's Wrong To Cut Medicare. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Gingrich wrote: "The reform bills passed by the House and Senate cut Medicare by approximately $500 billion. This is wrong. There is no question that Medicare is on an unsustainable course; the government has promised far more than it can deliver. But this problem will not be solved by cutting Medicare in order to create new unfunded liabilities for young people." [Wall Street Journal, 2/10/10]

Gingrich Repeatedly Attacked Sen. Kerry For 'Flip-Flopping.' From ThinkProgress:

Gingrich on Neil Cavuto, 9/17/04: "You can't flip-flop and be commander-in-chief."

Gingrich on Hannity & Colmes 9/27/04: "I think Kerry's problem is one of identity... He can't quite decide, you know - and so I think what you're going to see more likely with him is a kind of schizophrenia. And if the moderator's at all serious with Kerry, and puts Kerry on the spot as saying, now, you said a, and you said b. Which is it? I think Kerry's got a big problem."

Gingrich on Hannity & Colmes, 5/5/04: "I think maybe the pretzel should become the symbol of the Kerry campaign, because he kind of twists himself into a pretzel trying to fit every group he shows up in front of and trying to appeal to each group on the national issues. I'm beginning to think it's not such a shock he's running for president. It's a little bit of a shock he survived as a Senator." [ThinkProgress, 3/24/11]

  • Gingrich Repeatedly Flip-Flopped In Criticizing Obama On Libya Policy. According to ThinkProgress:

To summarize, Gingrich has taken a variety of conflicting positions on Libya in just over a month:

  • February 22: Gingrich blasts Obama for being "quiet" on Libya, says administration "ought to be firmly on the side of the Libyan people in replacing this administration."
  • February 24: Gingrich again attacks Obama for being "strangely quiet" about Libya, claiming that if Obama is more vocal on Libya, its military will bring about regime change on its own.
  • March 7: Gingrich criticizes Obama for not using military force in Libya, says that the United States should unilaterally "exercise a no-fly zone this evening." Gingrich says ground forces are unnecessary.
  • March 23: Shortly after Obama exercises a no-fly zone in Libya, Gingrich criticizes the President for doing so. Gingrich says, "I would not have intervened."
  • March 23: On Facebook, Gingrich criticizes Obama for being vocal about his desire to replace Gadhafi on March 3. Say he now supports the no-fly zone because of Obama's March 3 statement.
  • March 27: Gingrich supports the use of air power in Libya, "ideally" in conjunction with Arab ground forces. [ThinkProgress, 3/27/11]
  • Gingrich Flip-Flopped On Climate Change Policy. From ThinkProgress:

After Gingrich offered that real estate mogul Donald Trump's birther conspiracy theory presents a "fair question," reporters pivoted to ask "if climate change is a problem government should address" - a problem President Obama just slammed Republicans in Congress for denying exists. Gingrich said evidence for climate change is "not nearly complete" and that he viewed a cap-and-trade program as a "massively expensive" plan based on "a theory." [...]

In detailing Gingrich's full record of change on climate change, the Wonk Room's Brad Johnson pointed out that Gingrich actually called for a cap-and-trade system with tax incentives for clean energy in 2007, seeing "mandatory carbon caps combined with a trading system" as a program "I would strongly support." In a debate with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) that same year, Gingrich said "the evidence is sufficient" for Congress to act on climate change. [ThinkProgress, 4/21/11, emphasis added]

Gingrich Chastised Liberals For Jumping To "Factually Untrue" Conclusions About Cause Of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Shooting. From Politico:

The former speaker of the House and possible 2012 presidential hopeful said Monday that some people on the left jumped too quickly to conclusions about accused gunman Jared Lee Loughner.

"[P]eople who would immediately scream about ethnic profiling, people who on the left have every possible incentive to never allow anyone to draw conclusions, suddenly say things that are just factually untrue," Gingrich said on Chicago's WLS radio station. [Politico, 1/10/11]

  • Gingrich Spent Years Rushing To Draw Politicized Conclusions In The Wake Of Tragedy. From the Washington Monthly:  

In 1994, just a few days before the midterm elections, a deranged woman named Susan Smith drowned her two young sons. Gingrich, at the time, made infanticide a campaign issue and publicly equated Smith's murders with the values of the Democratic Party. Gingrich told the AP, "The mother killing her two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we have to have change. I think people want to change and the only way you get change is to vote Republican."

Five years later, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people at Columbine High School. Gingrich insisted that American "elites" bore responsibility for the massacre. "I want to say to the elite of this country -- the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton ... of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made," Gingrich said, "and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don't have the courage to look at the world you have created." [Washington Monthly, 1/1/11]

Gingrich Criticized The Self-Executing Rule. In a post on Twitter, Gingrich wrote: "Incredible. We've gone from passing bills without reading them to passing bills without voting on them."

Gingrich Tweet

[Gingrich tweet, 3/10/11, via Media Matters]

  • As Speaker, Gingrich Set New Records For Use Of Self-Executing Rule. According to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars:

When Republicans took power in 1995, they soon lost their aversion to self-executing rules and proceeded to set new records under Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). There were 38 and 52 self-executing rules in the 104th and 105th Congresses (1995-1998), making up 25 percent and 35 percent of all rules, respectively. Under Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) there were 40, 42 and 30 self-executing rules in the 106th, 107th and 108th Congresses (22 percent, 37 percent and 22 percent, respectively). Thus far in the 109th Congress, self-executing rules make up about 16 percent of all rules. [Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 6/19/06]

August 2009: Gingrich Opposed Federal Funding For End-Of-Life Counseling. From an article by Gingrich in Human Events:

My father-in-law recently passed a few years ago.  It was a tragic, grief-filled event.  But in the end, my father-in-law, his doctors and his family controlled the care he received.  Not a bureaucrat.  Not an impersonal panel of government "experts." [...]

I think every American should have the opportunity my father-in-law had to have a conversation with their doctor about end of life care that is totally private, in which there are no standards set by the government and no fear of the bureaucracy. We had that kind of an experience at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, where my father-in-law died. [Human Events, 8/19/09]

  • July 2009: Gingrich Held That Medicare Enrollees Should Have Access To End-Of-Life Counseling. From a Washington Post editorial written by Gingrich:

Gundersen Lutheran Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin has developed a successful end-of-life, best practice that combines: 1) community-wide advance care planning, where 90 percent of patients have advance directives; 2) hospice and palliative care; and 3) coordination of services through an electronic medical record. The Gundersen approach empowers patients and families to control and direct their care.

If Gundersen's approach was used to care for the approximately 4.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who die every year, Medicare could save more than $33 billion a year." [Washington Post editorial, 7/2/09]

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