Newt Gingrich, who last May assailed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget plan as “right-wing social engineering,” offered a much rosier assessment of Ryan on Sunday’s Face the Nation now that the Wisconsin Republican has been named as Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Gingrich praised the Ryan budget and took issue with the Congressional Budget Office’s finding that, due to the plan’s enormous tax cuts, it would take until 2040 for the U.S. to turn a budget surplus. That finding, Gingrich said, is “factually false,” and deflects from the broader ideological debate the country should focus on in November.
“I think this will be the key debate for this Fall,” Gingrich said. “Do you want a country with a smaller government, bigger economy and more jobs, or do you want a country with a bigger government, a smaller economy and fewer jobs?”
As for his past criticism of Ryan and his budget, Gingrich said that point was now moot since Ryan had tweaked his proposed changes to Medicare. It was that one sliver of the budget that, Gingrich said, he didn’t like before, and with the changes he no longer had any qualms with the overall blueprint.
“One of the things I give Paul a lot of credit for is he really listens,” Gingrich said, explaining that Ryan sought outside opinions before retooling his proposal. “And he came back with an improved Medicare plan.”
“He met my only objection,” he added.
Last May, Gingrich distanced himself from the Ryan plan, saying that the proposed Medicare changes would be, “too big a jump.”
“I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for free society to operate,” Gingrich said. “I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors, but there are specific things you can do.”
Watch this video from CBS’s Face the Nation, broadcast Aug. 12, 2012.
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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