This morning at 8:46am Eastern the Romney camp released an email attacking Newt Gingrich in advance of a phone call briefing featuring Romney's surrogates, former NH Gov. John Sununu and Sen. Jim Talent. This is the text of that email. Obviously it's campaign opposition material, but we put it forward in order to let the readers see what reporters are being given.
WITH FRIENDS LIKE NEWT, WHO NEEDS THE LEFT?
"Conservatives want our next president to be an ally in the fight to reform government and cut spending. Speaker Gingrich's attack on Paul Ryan's plan as 'right-wing social engineering' - and then denying his own attack before doubling down on it - is the kind of Washington politics that Americans are tired of. Lifelong Washington insiders can't fix the mess they helped create." -Gail Gitcho, Romney Communications Director
In May, Speaker Gingrich Attacked Congressman Paul Ryan's Plan As "Right-Wing Social Engineering"
Gingrich: "I Don't Think Right-Wing Social Engineering Is Any More Desirable Than Left-Wing Social Engineering." QUESTION: "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." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 5/15/11)
Specifically Asked About Paul Ryan's Plan, Gingrich Compared It To Obamacare And Said "I Would Be Against A Conservative Imposing Radical Change." QUESTION: "But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare." GINGRICH: "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'm against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 5/15/11)
After Denying He Had Attacked The Ryan Plan, Gingrich Then Embraced His Prior Attack: "What I Said Was True"
In A Mid-November Interview, Gingrich Unequivocally Said He Had Not Attacked Paul Ryan's Plan. QUESTION: "You said of Paul Ryan's plan that it was too radical." GINGRICH: "No. What I was asked was, 'Should we impose on the country something the country thinks is deeply unpopular?' And it didn't even reference Ryan." QUESTION: "You weren't talking about the Ryan plan?" GINGRICH: "No. I was..." QUESTION: "And the questioner wasn't talking about the Ryan plan?" GINGRICH: "Well, the questioner initially asked me about the Ryan plan, and I said overall there's a lot I like, and there are pieces I don't like. Which Paul knows full well. But I was talking about a fundamental principle of governing." (Union Leader Editorial Board Meeting With Newt Gingrich, C-SPAN, 11/21/11)
Days Later, Gingrich Affirmed His Critique Of The Ryan Plan: "What I Said Was True." QUESTION: "When you said about Paul Ryan and criticized his Medicare plan and right wing social engineering..." GINGRICH: "Look, it was a technical mistake, but what I said was true. I was asked the question should Republicans impose a plan if it is deeply unpopular. And I said something that was written about, right wing social engineering is as dangerous at left wing social engineering. I had a lot of my conservative friends mad at me, but in fact, Hayek wrote it because he was right." (Fox News' "Hannity," 11/30/11)
If Gingrich Didn't Attack The Plan, Then Why Did He Call Congressman Ryan To Apologize?
Days After His Initial Attack, Gingrich Phoned Ryan And Apologized For His Remarks. "Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich apologized in a telephone call to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday afternoon for his remarks on 'Meet the Press,' where the presidential candidate referred to Ryan's Medicare proposal as 'radical change.' 'Newt apologized,' said Rick Tyler, his press secretary and longtime aide. 'The call went very well.'" (Mike Allen, "Newt Gingrich Apologizes To Paul Ryan," Politico, 5/17/11)
Conservatives - Including Congressman Ryan Himself - Denounced Gingrich's Attack
Congressman Ryan: "With Allies Like That, Who Needs The Left?" "Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) took a swipe Monday at Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich after the former House Speaker criticized his proposed Medicare reforms. 'With allies like that, who needs the left?' Ryan told guest host Raymond Arroyo on conservative talker Laura Ingraham's radio show." (Michael O'Brien, "GOP Rep. Ryan Swipes At Gingrich: 'With Allies Like That, Who Needs The Left?'" The Hill, 5/16/11)
Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) Said She Was "Terribly Disappointed" In Gingrich's Attacks On Ryan. "Haley, whose promise to endorse a presidential candidate has made her a key power broker in the Republican primary fight, joined in the chorus Tuesday and said she is 'terribly disappointed' in Gingrich. 'What he said was absolutely unfortunate,' Haley told CNN in a phone interview. 'Here you've got Representative Ryan trying to bring common sense to this world of insanity, and Newt absolutely cut him off at the knees.' 'When you have a conservative fighting for real change, the last thing we need is a presidential candidate cutting him off at the knees,' she added." (Peter Hamby, "Gov. Nikki Haley Hammers Gingrich Over Medicare Remarks," CNN, 5/17/11)
Columnist Charles Krauthammer Said Gingrich's Words Would Be Used By Democrats Against All Republican Candidates. "Krauthammer's criticism of Gingrich echoed that of many other conservatives who said that Gingrich's words will be used against fellow Republicans in future congressional campaigns. 'I mean, I think every one of these Republican candidates running for the House is going to have a Democratic opponent who's going to run an ad you can write today. It's going to start, even conservative Newt Gingrich, the former leader of the Republicans in the House, says "It's radical, it's social engineering.'"" (Jeff Poor, "Krauthammer On Gingrich's Presidential Aspirations: 'Now It's Over'," The Daily Caller, 5/16/11)