Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Sunday found himself in the awkward position of being confronted by MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, who demanded an apology because the former House Speaker had been “completely wrong” when he said that tax hikes in 1993 would lead to a downturn in the economy.
During a discussion about the so-called fiscal cliff on NBC’s Meet the Press, O’Donnell noted that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had given himself no room to agree to higher tax rates for the richest Americans because he had said that “tax rate increases cost American jobs.”
As he put his arm around Gingrich, O’Donnell asked: “Who said this? ‘The tax increase will kill jobs and lead to a recession, and the recession will force people out of work and onto unemployment, and actually increase the deficit.’”
“That’s Newt Gingrich, in 1993, on the Clinton tax increase,” he pointed out. “And those of us who were working on the other side of that tax increase, Newt, have been waiting for your apology for 20 years for being completely wrong about that.”
“I don’t agree with you,” Gingrich replied.
“But the economy soared,” O’Donnell insisted. “No one lost a job because of that tax increase.”
“Baloney,” Gingrich quipped.
“There was no recession, you said there would be a recession,” O’Donnell shot back. “There was no recession.”
“The fact is, if you look at all the indicators when I was elected Speaker, virtually all of the economic growth occurs after the Republicans take control,” Gingrich remarked. “Virtually all of the increase in the stock market, in fact all of the increase in the stock market is after the Republicans take control.”
“You did not reduce the rates, Newt,” the MSNBC explained. “You said the rates would cause a recession.”
According to the Center for American Progress, President Bill Clinton’s tax hikes led to the “longest period of economic growth in U.S. history, increased business investment, 23 million jobs added, and, of course, budget surpluses.”
Watch this video from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast Dec. 9, 2012.
(h/t: Think Progress)