Gingrich: Political Battles Won't Hurt Republicans in 2014

Sunday, 13 Oct 2013 01:27 PM

By Audrey Hudson

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday he does not expect the political battles over Obamacare, raising the debt ceiling and the ongoing government shutdown will hurt Republicans in the next election.

With nearly 400 days to go before voters have their say at the ballot boxes, Gingrich told CNN's "State of the Union" that his party would have ample time to plead its case.

"This is the middle of a bloody fight, this is a serious principled fight," Gingrich said.

"Nobody in this city wants to grant the House Republicans any dignity, but the fact is they are fighting over very profound principles, and when it's over and when the dust settles, the country's going to assess and then they're going to discover that Obamacare is a disaster," Gingrich said.

Anita Dunn, President Barack Obama's former communications director, disagreed that voters would be focused on the new healthcare law and instead both parties would be judged by their efforts made to improve the economy and pass immigration reform.

And former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, said on the CNN show, "If Republicans would have just sat back and said, 'See, we told you Obamacare was not going to work,' they might have won this battle.'"

Asked by Crowley to assess Sen. Ted Cruz's role in the government shutdown, and whether his colleagues or Democrats have treated the Texas Republican unfairly, Schweitzer called him a skunk, while Dunn and Gingrich came to Cruz's defense.

"This is a big mistake for the Republican Party," Schweitzer said. "If you throw a skunk in the chicken coop, everybody knows you've got to get the skunk out before he kills the chickens and eats the eggs.

"But everyone's going to get smell on them, and that's what's happened here, we've got smell on the Republican Party, it's spilling over the president and to the Democrats and what the rest of the country is seeing is dysfunction," Schweitzer said.

Gingrich said it's unlikely that Cruz has taken the criticism personally.

"Ted Cruz is a very aggressive articulator of a hard-line position that probably 20, 25 percent of the country agrees with," Gingrich said.

"He is a dramatic dissenter from the Washington establishment, that also means by the way, because of his personality, he's really infuriating defenders of the Washington establishment. I don't think Ted minds that a bit," Gingrich said.

Dunn described Cruz as "an extraordinarily smart person" and warned fellow Democrats not to underestimate his significant support among a core base of the Republican Party.

Related stories:

Sen. Corker: Democrats Overreaching as Budget Talks at Standstill

Ted Cruz Poll: GOP Gaining Ground From Obamacare Fight

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