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It has been a rough first week for Newt Gingrich and his presidential campaign. The Republican candidate believes that because he is calling for “real change,” he will cause controversy. The controversy that Gingrich is talking about includes his own party. His comments earlier in the week about U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) dramatic Medicare overhaul caused outrage among Republicans, suggesting that Newt may be running against President Obama on his own.
On Sunday, Gingrich created the controversy on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “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 it,” he said. “I am against Obamacare imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”
The House GOP plan, proposed by Rep. Ryan would turn Medicare into a voucher system. Seniors would be given money to purchase private insurance. Gingrich said he prefers the current Medicare program in addition to a private alternative. “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” he said. “I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare solution for seniors.”
Following the comments, the backlash was fierce from all directions. Democrats have since launched a website thanking Newt for pointing out that Rep. Ryan’s plan is radical. Gingrich was forced to apologize to Rep. Ryan for his comments. He also retracted the remarks and told Fox News that any news outlets that quote those statements from him would be misquoting him. “Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood, because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate and unfortunate,” he said. “When I make a mistake — and I’m going to on occasion — I’m going to share with the American people that was a mistake, because that way we can have an honest conversation.”
The former speaker of the house returned to Iowa after the controversy for a three day trip throughout the state. His first stop in Waterloo was to speak in front of a crowd of about 150 enthusiastic followers.
The Des Moines Register reports that Gingrich asked supporters to appear in a video aimed at keeping his presidential political operations alive after a tough first week. “Any of you who are willing to do just a brief video with him [an Iowa campaign staffer] of why you’re for me it would be very helpful ’cause we have to sort of convince the Washington news media that actually the voters will decide when this election is over, not five or six pundits,” he said.