Gingrich vs. Ryan: An Ongoing Saga

by Robert Costa

As Andrew Stiles noted, former House speaker Newt Gingrich distanced himself from the Ryan budget this morning on Meet the Press, calling it “too big a jump.”

Gingrich’s comments are part of a broader argument he has made since announcing his presidential bid last week. Instead of championing the specifics of Ryan’s proposal, Gingrich is urging Republicans to run on “core principles,” framing 2012 as a path toward a mandate, not an endorsement of Ryan’s long-term fiscal fix.

In an interview with Sean Hannity last week, Gingrich hinted at the themes that he outlined in his chat with David Gregory. “If we had a contract in the fall of 2012 and we had an election on core principles, we would have a mandate on the very first day,” he said.

Other examples of Gingrich’s break with Ryan on parts of his budget have popped up in recent months. On his Facebook page in April, Gingrich staked out a Medicare position that was supportive of Ryan’s effort, but not a full-fledged endorsement. In other words, Gingrich gave a thumbs-up to the Rivlin-Domenici plan on Medicare.

“One option is for Congress to move towards a 21st century personal Medicare system that would allow seniors to choose, on a voluntary basis, a more personal system with greater options for better care,” he wrote in a note to supporters.

Gingrich has also argued against Ryan’s cuts to science and research funding.

But Gingrich was not always a Ryan skeptic. As Katrina Trinko and Andrew McCarthy observed, Gingrich once hailed the Ryan’s pre-budget ‘roadmap’ as “comprehensive, bold solution to America’s serious problem of rapidly rising debt . . . the Roadmap would restart the American jobs machine, and restore traditional American prosperity.”

Ryan’s budget, of course, echoes much of the ‘roadmap.’

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