Newt Gingrich on Barack Obama’s promise — and on Michael Steele

Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday joined the chorus of those insisting that President Barack Obama keep his campaign promise to put health care reform negotiations on C-SPAN.

The video, it turns out, was irresistible. Gingrich has posted a compilation on his “health transformation” web site:

Gingrich unveiled the web video in a session with reporters after a speech to the ruling board of the Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta.

Said the former Georgia congressman:

“Since it’s the candidate’s own voice and his own face, and he’s saying it, we thought this was a great opportunity for the American people to send him a letter asking him as president to keep his word, and to insist that the negotiations be out in the open….

“This is too important an issue and too big a bill to rush it through in secret in order to meet an artificial deadline so they can have the State of the Union as a victory speech. And I think it will undermine the president’s credibility with virtually every American if he fails to keep his word.”

Gingrich was asked whether, because negotiations are a matter for a House-Senate conference committee, his message would be better addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Gingrich replied:

“The objective reality is that Rahm Emanuel is the lead person in the negotiations as the president’s chief of staff….It’s up to the president to keep his own word. It’s not up to Pelosi and Reid to keep his word.”

Which the former House speaker considered very important:

“Having a president who’s made a very explicit commitment not keep their word is very dangerous, because it makes you wonder – why would you pay attention to the State of the Union.

“If he’s prepared to walk off from something he’s promised at least eight times, why would you care about his next speech? Why would you care about his next word? I think it’s very dangerous for presidents to put themselves in that position.”

Gingrich also had some preliminary talking points for his fellow Republicans, should Democrats fail to take his advice, and pass health care reform:

“If they stay inside those two bills, I think every Republican candidate in the country is going to say that they want to replace the bill with something better.
“I don’t think they’ll use the word ‘repeal.’ I think they’ll use the word ‘replace.’ We need health reform.”

We’re told that, during his session with Commerce Club leaders, Gingrich was asked about his interest in a 2012 campaign for president. The former House speaker acknowledged he was giving it some thought – and would make a decision in March or April of next year.

During his session with reporters, Gingrich was also asked about yet another flare-up of criticism aimed at Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman.

The Washington Times this morning had an article linking poor RNC fund-raising and discontent with Steele among big contributors. Steele, on ABC radio, told his critics to “get with the program or get out of the way.”

Gingrich has been a defender of Steele, and Thursday was no different. He said that the RNC chairman was wrong to say that Republicans had no chance of taking the House in ‘10, and had corrected himself.

But Gingrich said continued criticism of Steele amounted to “inside-the-party cannibalism.” Said the former congressman:

“Michael Steele makes a number of old-time Republicans very nervous. He was the [GOP] chairman of a blue state, Maryland. He was the lieutenant governor of that state.

“He comes out of a very different background – he spent six years at seminary. He is an African-American. He is a physically big guy who’s noisy, and I think there are a number of Republicans who wish they could just find a good, boring, old-time Republican to be in that job so he wouldn’t make them nervous.

“On the other hand, I think he’s pretty close to what we need. He’s different, he’s gutsy, his book is tough, his book is honest. His book’s going to make a number of Republicans mad, because it says we deserved to lose in ‘06 and ‘08, and we better learn some lessons from it.

“We have a lot of Republicans who don’t want to learn, don’t want to change, and don’t want to be told it was our fault. They’d like to think it was somebody else’s far. I’m a fan of Steele. I think he is learning, I think he is smart, and I think he ultimately will be a very important part of where we’re going.

“I think people ought to relax. There’s a group who are so mad at him, that they are feeding the news media, and trying to start a fight over Steele. Steele is the chairman. The purpose of the Republican National Committee is to create a majority. They’ve done a very good job with finances. He’s raised a lot of money. We won the governorship of Virginia, we won the governorship of New Jersey. That strikes me as a pretty good starting year for him.”

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18 comments Add your comment

Elf on the Shelf

January 7th, 2010
5:26 pm

First* (in the hearts of my countrymen).

*if George Washington was a total zero and a complete dolt, and lived during the age of the internets.


January 7th, 2010
7:06 pm

Newt has it right , AGAIN. The repubs need to dig up all those campaign tapes and keep replaying them (over and over) of all the things he SAID he would do–that we know he never had any intention of doing. He (A’BOMBA) is not anything special, just another guy, lying like hell to get a job ( like he’s never had before) and trying to get power for all the wrong reasons. How can so many people be so DAMN stupid ??????

Philip Avon St. Cyr

January 7th, 2010
7:22 pm

“How can so many people be so DAMN stupid ??????”

Good question! Let’s see: 300 million Americans and 53% voted for Obama. By your definition then, this country is populated by about 160 million “damn stupid” people. Meanwhile, YOU know better. You’re smarter than Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey–all self-made folks who have made millions/billions…

And what have YOU made?

Just a really stupid comment.


January 7th, 2010
7:46 pm

Let the party cleanse itself! Republicans (and democrats) need to follow the constitution!
As for comments about those rich folks sitting in billion dollar mansions and flying private planes all over… supporting obummer… in my opinion, you are stupid. You forgot to Mention George Soros…

Perhaps you want to mention all the Actors as well?

How about talking about the WORKING CLASS of Americans who pay for all this crap and only want the government that we ELECT to follow the constitution of this great land…

So philip… shut up, wake up, go collect your welfare check.


January 7th, 2010
8:15 pm


America still waits for promises of speeches, given during the most expensive Presidential campaign in history, to materialize into actions that will be positive for a Nation facing unprecedented debt, deficits and unemployment.

America is still looking for leadership.

Contracts on America

January 7th, 2010
8:41 pm

I Object. No more of Newt’s contracts. No more Republican family values. Drill that.

Rep Joe Wilson Was Correct

January 7th, 2010
11:34 pm

So now we see the Obowma family values ….. lie, lie and lie some more.

L. Biggins

January 8th, 2010
3:44 am

Does anyone see the irony of Newt talking about political honesty and integrity. He is an intelligent well versed politician in his own right, but what gives him the power to decide what the President should do visa vie anything. When he was speaker did he govern by public consent. Where was the “transparency” of his actions? Having lost the popular high ground with the people, Newt and his friends must find a way to be relevant. Try being proactive with ideas and solutions to move this country forward. It does not take anything to sit back and complain about what others do.

Obama Should Listen to Obama

January 8th, 2010
8:33 am

The person who said negotiations should be on C-SPAN was Obama. He told the voters that. Some of them voted for him for that very reason–because he wanted an open process. Newt isn’t saying Obama should listen to Newt, he’s saying Obama should listen to Obama.

Road Scholar

January 8th, 2010
8:42 am

James Raider: I agree with your premise but do not totally agree with the link provided. Unemployment at 17 %? Where is his source?
I also must return the premise- Where is the leadership of the Republicans? What does their health changes consist of? I haven’t heard of a composite plan. Sure tort reform, but what else? Oh yeah, small business tax breaks! That doesn’t affect the price of health insurance.

Bunny Howe

January 8th, 2010
10:34 am

Newt is still the best that the GOP has, regardless of his so-called past transgressions-pretty minor compared to Willy boy and his group and Pelosi and Reid and Obama. Yes, Joe Wilson, he’s my rep in sc, got it right and he is being proven right every day that Pelosi/Reid/Obama open their mouths. As to Steele, he too is still the best that the GOP has–if he “lights a fire” under the GOP, well it’s about time. So kudos to both. Keep up the good work. And, give me back my party and, please, give me a President–right now I have none! Also, give us seniors our COLA now that all the Federal Employees GOT THEIR COLA RAISE (2%)!!! Right now we are being governed into socialism by a dictatorship and that should be scaring the crap out of the American people. And, for those of you who voted for Obama because he is half black, shame on you. You are supposed to vote for the “man/woman” best suited for the job. So, now you got just what you voted for. LIES and UNKEPT PROMISES. What did you think you were getting??? And, let’s talk about the MISSTEPS in security–those weren’t “missteps” those were “major trip over yourself major flops” and to the cost of American lives. Sorry, Obama, this isn’t Kindegarten–you were supposed to be “up and running” on all the issues. You haven’t even begun to walk, yet!!! Get rid of Napolitano before you murder more innocent people with your “anti profiling” agenda!

[...] Galloway of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story of Gingrich’s remarks at the club, including his answer to a question about [...]

John O'Hare

January 8th, 2010
6:13 pm

I had been a Republican for all of my working life until the last presidential election when I regretfully voted for O’Bama. The reason for my change in loyalty was due to the fact that I no longer believed the Republician party represented the values that earned my support over the years. Values like smaller goverment, fiscal responsibility and most of all integrity, seemed to have gone by the way side.

Michael Steele is right on the money by admitting that the Republician Party has to change if they ever hope to gain a majority in Congress ever again. Everyday O’Bama is giving the people a new reason to support the Republician party again but not if people think that they are just swapping one unresponsive politician for another. The Republicians need to establish a new set of commitments to the american people and prove , by their actions, that it is not just another worthless campaign promise.

Ole Guy

January 9th, 2010
4:35 pm

Another Georgia Gem who excells in carrying the guidon of morality…let’s see, how many wives was that? And all during the same time our bearor of the guidon of morality was chucking spears at then-President Clinton for such shameful behavior (tsk tsk tsk).


January 10th, 2010
1:18 pm

I’m tired of this one too. They all get in line and come from just about any direction with negativity. I guess they believe they’re wearing down the President. It reminds me of a documentary I saw on negative campaigning and how effective it is. Hopefully, our prayers will protect our President.

[...] one big Republican who has come to Steele’s defense this week is Newt Gingrich, who said in a speech last week that the fact that because Steele is so different than previous GOP chairs (Newt said the [...]

Wheres that change at?

January 11th, 2010
1:05 pm

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[...] in January, during a session with reporters in Atlanta, former House speaker Newt Gingrich said this: “If they stay inside those two bills, I [...]