Chris Good over at The Atlantic has one of the first accounts of GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s session this afternoon with Rush Limbaugh.
A day earlier, the conservative talk show guru had declared himself “befuddled” by Gingrich’s criticism of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to fix Medicare during his “Meet the Press” appearance on Sunday.
Gingrich’s explanation? It didn’t happen. Writes Good:
“It was not a reference to Paul Ryan. There was no reference to Paul Ryan in that answer,” Gingrich told Limbaugh, who was in the process of gently grilling him about why he used those words in the NBC interview.
Limbaugh asked Gingrich why, then, did he call Ryan to apologize for the remark, if it wasn’t made in reference to Ryan.
“It was interpreted in a way which was causing trouble which he doesn’t need or deserve,” Gingrich said. “My answer wasn’t about the budget, and I promptly went back to say publicly that I would have voted for the Ryan budget.”
Meanwhile, the former Georgia congressman continued his trek through Iowa with a grim smile on his face. Pay no attention to the dateline from the Associated Press:
Waterloo, Iowa — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday he’ll use “cheerful persistence” to overcome the bumps that marked the first formal week of his campaign.
Gingrich said he isn’t surprised by the rough start to his campaign, ranging from Republican outrage at his description of a proposed House overhaul of Medicare as “right-wing social engineering” to being showered with glitter by a gay-rights activist in Minneapolis.
“My reaction is if you’re the candidate of very dramatic change, it you’re the candidate of really new ideas, you have to assume there’s a certain amount of clutter and confusion and it takes a while to sort it all out, because you are doing something different,” Gingrich told reporters after he opened an intense three-day campaign swing in Iowa.
Despite speculation that Gingrich might not be able to overcome his first week stumbles, especially the Medicare comment that ended in him apologizing to Rep. Paul Ryan — the force behind the plan — Gingrich told about 150 people in Waterloo that his campaign was fine.
“This campaign is very alive and very well with lots of grass-roots support,” Gingrich told the crowd. “It’s been a little bit of a challenging week.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider