Newt Gingrich: ‘I Am Reaching Out to Paul Ryan’ on Medicare Plan

May 17, 2011 2:57pm

ABC News' Arlette Saenz reports:  Looking for reconciliation with the Republican Party’s other “ideas man,” Newt Gingrich said he is planning to reach out to Rep. Paul Ryan after attacking his Medicare plan on a morning talk show this Sunday.

“I am reaching out to Paul Ryan. My hope is to find a way to work with the House Republicans,” Gingrich said on a conference call with bloggers according to the Daily Caller.  “I used language that was too strong — although the underlying principle, I think, was right.”

Gingrich’s attempt to mend his Medicare flub comes as prominent GOP leaders reacting with unusual ferocity, even questioning his ability to run a disciplined presidential campaign.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whose support will be instrumental in winning the South Carolina primary, slammed Gingrich in an interview with CNN today.

“What he said was absolutely unfortunate,” Haley told CNN in a phone interview.  “Here you’ve got Representative Ryan trying to bring common sense to this world of insanity, and Newt absolutely cut him off at the knees.”

“When you have a conservative fighting for real change, the last thing we need is a presidential candidate cutting him off at the knees,” Haley said.

House GOP members have joined the chorus criticizing Gingrich’s labeling of the plan as “radical.”

House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan, who developed the plan criticized by Gingrich, said “With allies like that who needs the left?  

“Hardly is that social engineering and radical,” Ryan said on the Laura Ingraham radio show Monday.

 “What’s radical is kicking the can down the road, not doing anything to fix this problem and watching the whole system implode on itself.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called Gingrich’s comments a “tremendous misspeak,” which could jeopardize his presidential run.

“There's no question there was a misspeak here," Cantor told Chicago radio station WLS Tuesday morning. "Just to sit here while all but three House Republicans voted for the Ryan budget, to somehow portray that as a radical step, I believe, is a tremendous misspeak."

"Many have said now he's finished," Cantor later said.  "I probably would reserve judgment on that. Perhaps he can come out and say he misspoke and get back on board with what we're trying to do."

Gingrich is in the middle of a 17 city tour through Iowa.  Tonight, he will address the Minnesota Family Council’s Annual Dinner along with Rep. Michele Bachmann.

 More on the controversey surrounding Gingrich's comments on the Ryan plan. 

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