Former Speaker Newt Gingrich strongly disputed Andrea Mitchell's report on MSNBC this morning that he had privately moved to dissuade House Republicans from voting on yesterday’s bailout bill while publicly endorsing it.
Speaking before the National Press Club today, Gingrich called MSNBC a “stunningly dishonest network.” While critical of many parts of the proposed legislation, Gingrich said he had nevertheless supported its passage and made that clear to Minority Leader John Boehner and others in the House.
Still, Gingrich said that there was good that could come from the bill failing and encouraged what he regarded to be the long-run view of the matter stating, “Do you really want to get over a headache by giving yourself cancer?”
He said that the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah had given all members a time for contemplation.
Gingrich sharpened his attack from the last few days on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who he against called on to resign from his post. Paulson, Gingrich said, “represents a very narrow Wall Street view.” Gingrich also cast a large share of the blame upon “liberal Democrats,” and took a numerous shots at provisions to provide money to ACORN.
The former Speaker said he was surprised that that the bill hadn’t passed, finding out after he touched down yesterday in Oklahoma City. He added that he “thought Sen. McCain had empowered Boehner and the Republicans.”
Gingrich, a self-styled historian, predicted that historians and journalists would eventually find great scandal in the events of the last two weeks.
“You might even get a Bob Woodward book out of this,” he said.