Dem Sen. Schumer Comes to Gingrich’s Defense

Thursday, 19 May 2011 12:42 PM

By Andra Varin

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Ouch. GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich got a shout-out from an unlikely and probably unwanted supporter: Sen. Charles Schumer. The New York Democrat says Republicans are unfairly turning the former House speaker into a “political outcast” for merely telling the truth about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan.

Newt Gingrich, Charles Schumer, GOP
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned Democrats not to spin his comments into ads, but the Democratic National Committee plansn to roll one out anyway. (Getty Images Photo)
The fracas shows that the Republican Party is a lot more extreme than it was in Gingrich’s heyday, Schumer says.

“I feel for Speaker Gingrich,” Schumer said in a conference call with reporters, according to The Washington Post’s Daily Plum blog.

“He’s entered the [presidential] race only to find out that the Republican Party has been pushed considerably further to the right than the party he led in the 1990s. His party has turned him into a political outcast,” Schumer said.

Many Republicans took Gingrich to task after he called portions of Ryan’s budget plan dealing with Medicare “radical.”

“I don't think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering," Gingrich said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” "I don't think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate."

Gingrich called Ryan on Tuesday night to apologize to the Wisconsin congressman, a tea party favorite. He also warned Democrats not to use quotes from the interview in ads.

However, the Democratic National Committee is thumbing its nose at that warning, as Roll Call reports that it plans to release a video Thursday capitalizing on Gingrich’s comments. The video is expected to highlights the flak the former House speaker is taking from fellow Republicans.

And Schumer isn’t about to let the matter drop, either. He says Gingrich should be applauded for daring to speak what the Democrat calls an obvious truth.

“It was refreshing to hear such candor from a top Republican,” Schumer said.” “Gingrich was saying what everyone knows to be true: The plan is extreme.

“What Newt seems to realize is that it would be impossible to win the White House if they embrace the Ryan plan. If Republicans make endorsing the Ryan plan the standard in the Republican primary, it will make the nominee unelectable,” Schumer said.

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