ABC News' Michael Falcone reports:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lashed out at Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a speech at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday for recently admonishing insurance companies to avoid unnecessarily hiking premiums.
“When Secretary Sebelius said the other day she would punish insurance companies that told the truth about the cost of Obamacare, she was behaving exactly in the spirit of the Soviet tyranny,” Gingrich said. “And if she’s going to represent left-wing thought police about Obamacare, she should be forced to resign by the new Congress.”
Gingrich was referring to a letter Sebelius sent earlier this month to a leading insurance industry group complaining that some companies were “falsely blaming premium increases” on health care reform legislation.
Gingrich said Republicans should defund her office, if as he hopes, they sweep back into the majority in Congress after the November elections.
"This idea that we the people have to tolerate some bureaucrat being paid with our taxes to dictate free speech to us should end in January," Gingrich said.
To that end, Gingrich, who helped usher in “Republican Revolution” of 1994, told the audience at this annual gathering of social conservatives that they had “seven weeks to change history” once again.
This year’s primary season has left “the establishment in such a state of shock,” he said, giving credit to Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-.S.C, who have helped create the conservative groundswell that has led to Tea Party upsets in several states.
Gingrich, who is often mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate, gave them credit for leading the movement, praising Palin’s “public capacity through Twitter and Facebook and other devices and Sen. DeMint’s organizational ability.”
He also gave a boost to Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell, quoting from a line she used in a speech to the conference on Friday: “There are more of us than there are of them.”
Gingrich referred to O'Donnell as the "candidate of paychecks" who was up against Democratic opponent Chris Coons — the "candidate of food stamps.”
The former House speaker, who spoke to a packed ballroom and paused several times during his remarks for applause, also advised O’Donnell’s defeated Republican opponent, Rep. Mike Castle, to endorse her. So far, he has refused. Gingrich also weighed in on Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s decision to run as a write-in candidate in Alaska after failing to fend off a challenge from Tea Party favorite Joe Miller.
“Senator Murkowski is fundamentally cheating,” Gingrich said.
Aside from electoral politics, Gingrich served up even more red meat, critiquing the “left-wing elite," Democratic Congressional leaders and the Obama administration, especially on issues of national security. He reiterated his opposition to the Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan, warned of the dangers “radical Islamists” pose to the United States and of efforts to impose sharia law in this country.
“We should make clear to Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan, who both seem confused on this topic,” Gingrich said, referring to two Supreme Court Justices, “that no judge will remain in office who tries to use sharia law to try to interpret the American constitution.”