Part 1 of the interview:
Part 2 of the interview:
You can read a FULL transcript of this interview HERE
Glenn welcomed the current front-runner for the GOP nomination to the program this morning on radio, and the usually unflappable Newt Gingrich was met with some serious questions about his record on healthcare, global warming, and more.
Glenn started the interview by making it clear that this was not a “gotcha” interview, but that Glenn had “serious concerns” about Newt Gingrich as President. Glenn’s producers had made it clear to Newt that tough questions were going to be asked, but he did think that Gingrich is a decent guy.
“I’m asking questions because I truly, deeply care about the country just as much as Newt Gingrich does but we differ on the answers, I believe. I’d like to have him convince me that I’m wrong. I would love to have him convince me that I’m wrong,” Glenn said.
Glenn started by playing a piece of audio where Gingrich claimed to be a “Theodore Roosevelt Republican”, a political figure in history that Glenn believes is strongly tied to the Progressive movement in history on both sides of the aisle.
The archived clip had Gingrich saying:
And for government to not leave guarantees that you don’t have the ability to change, no private corporation has the purchasing power or the ability to reshape the health system, and in this sense I guess I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican. In fact, if I were going to characterize my – on health where I come from, I’m a Theodore Roosevelt Republican and I believe government can lean in the regulatory leaning is okay.
“Regulation and the government scares the crap out of me and I think most Tea Party kind of leaning conservatives, and Theodore Roosevelt was the guy who started the Progressive Party. How would you characterize your relationship with the progressive ideals of Theodore Roosevelt?” Glenn asked Gingrich.
Gingrich said he was a fan of Roosevelt for reasons like his advocacy of the FDA.
“I was a child who lived in Europe and I always marveled at the fact that American water is drinkable virtually anywhere,” Gingrich said. “So there are minimum regulatory standards of public health and safety that are I think really important.”
“What I’m against is the government trying to implement things because bureaucracy’s such a bad implementer, and I’m against government trying to pick winners and losers,” Gingrich added.
On subsidies, bailouts, and energy
The talk then turned to bailouts and subsidies for businesses. Gingrich was clear that he would not have bailed out GM and the company would have been much better off going through a reorganization bankruptcy. On subsidies, however, Gingrich admitted that he was in favor of subsidies for ethanol because they drive out dependence on foreign oil.
“I want American energy to drive out Saudi Arabia and Iranian and Iraqi energy and Venezuelan energy. And so I am for all sources of American energy in order to make us not just independent but to create a reservoir so that if something does happen in the Persian Gulf in the Straits of Hormuz, the world’s industrial system doesn’t crash into a deep depression,” Gingrich told Glenn.
“Aren’t subsidies really some of the biggest problems that we have with our spending and out of control picking of winners and losers?” Glenn asked.
“The idea of having economic incentives for manufacturing goes back to Alexander Hamilton’s first report of manufacturing which I believe was 1791. We have always had a bias in favor of investing in the future. We built the transcontinental railroads that way. The Erie Canal was built that way. We’ve always believed that having a strong infrastructure and having a strong energy system are net advantages because they’ve made us richer and more powerful than any country in the world. But what I object to is subsidizing things that don’t work and things that aren’t creating a better future. And the problem with the modern welfare state is it actually encourages people to the wrong behaviors, encourages them not to work, encourages them not to study,” Gingrich responded.
On the individual mandate and healthcare
Continuing with the theme of big spending, Glenn asked Gingrich how a fiscal conservative could call the Medicare Prescription Drug Program the “most important bill to vote on in your career”.
Gingrich said that the bill included the Medicare Advantage and the right to have a high deductible medical savings account, “the first steps towards moving control over your health dollars back to you.”
“You’re trying to transition into smaller government by also supporting a bill that has in it a gigantic giveaway?” Glenn asked with incredulity.
“I think this is where we fundamentally differ is it seems to me and let me just play the audio here that you are for the individual mandate for healthcare and you have been for quite some time,” Glenn said.
Glenn played audio from 1993 and 2011, both of which have Newt advocating for the controversial individual mandate for health insurance.
In 1993, Gingrich said, “I am for people, individuals, exactly like automobile insurance, individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance, and I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals on a sliding scale a government subsidy so it will ensure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.”
In 2011, he said, “I think that there are ways to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy. I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement to either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you are going to be held accountable.”
“You seem to be very interested in the government finding the solution,” Glenn said.
“We can go back and we can listen to exactly what I was asked on that show and what I said I stand by, which is in a free society, you don’t elect officials to impose on you things that you disagree with,” Gingrich fired back.
“Now, I also, ironically, I would implement the Medicare reforms that Paul Ryan wants, I would implement them next year as an optional choice and I would allow people to have the option to choose premium support and then have freedom to negotiate with their doctor or their hospital in a way that would increase their ability to manage costs without being involved, you know but I wouldn’t impose it on everybody across the board. I think that’s a very large scale experiment. But I think you could migrate people toward it,” Gingrich said.
On Climate Change
Glenn also asked about his record on climate change.
“ On global warming, with sitting down on the couch with Nancy Pelosi, and I would agree with you that was the dumbest moment you know, it would have been the dumbest moment of my life. And I agree with that. But when you look at, it’s not a moment of your life. In speech after speech, in your book Contract with the Earth, even with John Kerry in a debate,” Glenn said.
“ Help me out. This is a multiyear stance. It’s not a moment in your life,” Glenn added.
“I think that there is evidence on both sides of the climate change argument, and the point I was making was in a situation where, for example, having a larger nuclear program reduces carbon in the atmosphere, it’s a prudent thing to look at nuclear as one of the actions,” Gingrich said.
While many of Newt’s arguments contained progressive rhetoric – the idea of having to lead the American people to policy one baby step at a time – Glenn appreciated the candidate taking the time to appear on the show.
“I appreciate the willingness to come on and answer the tough questions, and I wish you the best,” Glenn said.
“Well, sir, you and I have always had a great relationship and I admire your courage and I admire the way in which you’ve always stood up and told the truth and I think you’ve had a huge impact as I go around the country with Tea Party folks in maximizing interest in American history and interest in the Founding Fathers and I think much of what you’ve done, you know, you and I don’t have to agree on some things to have a great deal of mutual respect and I think you’ve been a very powerful force for good and I wish you well in your new ventures,” Newt told Glenn.
Coming back from the break, Glenn did want to emphasize that Gingrich is a big supporter of Israel, an issue that is very important to Glenn.
“I do want to point out a positive. First of all, Newt Gingrich signed a letter of support for Restoring Courage. He is a big supporter of Israel, and he is issuing a press release this morning demanding that President Obama renounce the recent statements by Leon Panetta and his ambassador to Belgium which were hostile over the weekend to Israel, I mean in ways I’ve never seen before. That press release is coming up from Newt Gingrich today. We didn’t have time to cover that, but I wanted you to know. He is a big supporter of Israel,” Glenn said.
Glenn will have more on this interview tonight on GBTV!