Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says it was the tea party that forced President Barack Obama to agree to a debt-reduction deal that he himself has said he is not happy with. The presidential candidate also told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly Monday the tea party now has the opportunity to push a balanced budget amendment by year’s end.
“First, the Tea Party members should feel really good — the left is mad at [Obama] for the right reason —they were effective, they were successful,” Gingrich said. “We just had an extraordinary moment where a very left-wing president blinked, and that would not have happened without the tea party. Now they have a great opportunity to push to pass a balanced budget amendment by the end of the year — that could be a historic effort for the tea party to focus on.
“Second, Washington has to shift and focus on the economy — we are in very grave danger of sliding into an even deeper depression — and I think there is no sign right now that Washington understands that this is a temporary moment,” he said. “Ok, we’ve all focused on the debt ceiling; we’re about to launch a big five- or six-month fight — and it’s going to be a fight. This was not the end — this was the beginning of a fight over the whole nature of what happens next.”
Gingrich said Obama’s re-election is in serious jeopardy if there is not significant improvement in the economy and his extreme economic policies makes that unlikely.
“He actually believes in left-wing economic ideas — the only problem with him is they don’t work — so he’s sort of like somebody who is watching the boat sink,” Gingrich said. “All the ideas he has and all the advisors he has are wrong. When you go out and you talk to small businesses they’ll tell you the Environmental Protection Agency is killing them — that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is killing them.”
Gingrich said House Speaker John Boehner did a good job in the debt-reduction negotiations — under the circumstances.
“First of all, you can’t second-guess it, he’s in a totally different environment than I was in,” the former speaker said. “Bill Clinton was a dramatically more reasonable person than Barack Obama and frankly a dramatically more realistic person than Barack Obama.
“So I’m not going to second-guess John Boehner. What I will say is that his biggest challenge is just starting,” Gingrich said. “They have got to manage this process to really rethink the federal government — you can’t just cut these current systems.”
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