ABC News' Arlette Saenz reports:
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who helped balance the federal budget in the 1990s, told a crowd in Iowa today the current budget could be balanced in five years.
“I helped balance the federal budget. It took us three years, originally I thought it would take seven. It took three, but we couldn’t have done it in four months,” Gingrich said during the Family Leader's Presidential Lecture Series in Pella, Iowa. “They ought to produce a track that’s real and that’s not baloney and it’s not phony numbers that gets them to a balanced budget, and I think you can get there in five to seven years.”
Gingrich said the U.S. would default if the debt ceiling is not raised, resulting in a constitutional violation.
"It would be a direct violation of the constitution, which very specifically says you can’t repudiate the debt," Gingrich said.
On Friday, Gingrich wrote an op-ed admonishing the inclusion of any tax increases in the debt ceiling negotiations. Today, Gingrich pressed Republicans to require the president to to include major spending cuts in the deal.
"I would not give the president a penny of debt ceiling that wasn't matched by spending cuts, and I was glad to see Speaker Boehner say that taxes were off the table. Notice I didn’t say revenues were off the table,” Gingrich said. “You can get more revenue the smart way. You don’t want to get more revenue by raising taxes in a depression, so it’s a fundamental difference.”
At the same event, Gingrich was also asked how he can be trusted to honor his commitments going forward given the fact that he has been married three times.
“I don’t ask you to in any sense have approved of any part of my life,” Gingrich said. “I’ve taken it very seriously and I’ve worked very hard at reconciliation with God and with seeking forgiveness.”
A spokesman for Gingrich told the National Journal Hotline on Call today that Gingrich told Bob Vander Plaats he will not sign the Family Leader marriage pledge until some of the language is changed, though he did not indicate which language needs to be worked on.