Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the so-called fiscal cliff is a "fantasy" being used as "an excuse to panic," and he is urging Republicans "to get a grip" on negotiations with President Barack Obama.
The Georgia Republican made the comments Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, according to the Ventura County Star.
The newspaper reported that Gingrich described the crisis-like atmosphere of the budget negotiations as "a device to get all of us running down the road so we accept whatever Obama wants.
"Because, otherwise, we will have failed the fiscal cliff, and how can you be a patriot if you don't do what the fiscal cliff requires?" he continued.
In addition, Gingrich, a front-runner at one point this year for the GOP presidential nomination, said Republicans need to put the election behind them and “get over it.”
"We had a bad election," he said. "We did a number of stupid things, and we faced an opponent who was smarter than we were, worked harder than we did, thought longer than we did, did some clever things.”
The former speaker had some harsh words for congressional Republicans, some of whom are considering breaking their pledge not to raise taxes in order to strike a deal with Obama. They need "to get a grip," he said.
Gingrich said Republicans should be reminded that, at least in the House, they "are the majority; they are not the minority.
"They don't need to cave in to Obama," he added. "They don't need to form a surrender caucus."
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