Last month, MSNBC reported that up until the last minute, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich was telling GOP lawmakers “in the strongest possible language” to vote against the $700 billion bailout legislation. Speaking at the National Press Club later that same day, Gingrich took umbrage at the charge, saying, “I was actually reluctantly trying to help it get through.”
Gingrich’s claim now seems to be less than honest. In a new piece on Human Events, Gingrich actually urges Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to distance himself from the bailout that he allegedly helped push through:
If Senator McCain is not prepared to separate himself from the Bush-Paulson economic program, he has no opportunity to win.
The country is deeply fed up with the Bush presidency and angry about the Paulson bailout. If McCain is confused or uncertain about how bad this economic performance is, he will never get the country to listen to him.
Gingrich’s views have been practically impossible to pin down on this issue. Some of his past positions on the bailout:
— Sept. 29: “I’m not sure if I were in the Congress I could vote against it.”
— Sept. 29: “The vote today indicated that even when they’d worked for five days to try to improve what was really a pretty terrible original plan that [Paulson] sent up, it still couldn’t get a majority in the House.”
— Sept. 23: At a press conference Tuesday, Gingrich said the bailout proposal is a “watershed event” that puts the credibility of the GOP presidential nominee on the line. If McCain plays the maverick card, Gingrich said, the bailout will become the “Obama-Bush plan.”
So, to summarize: Gingrich was against the bailout, and then for it, and then against it, and then for it, and now against it again. According to congressional conservatives, all of this is “the opening salvo of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign four years hence.”