Gingrich Denies Dissing Ryan's Budget Plan; Says "Right-Wing Social Engineering" Barb Meant Something Else

All week, Newt Gingrich has been mired in controversy for his statement on "Meet the Press" that Paul Ryan’s budget plan, embraced by virtually the entire House Republican caucus, was “right-wing social engineering.” Gingrich’s answer was in direct response to a question about whether or not he supported the central component of the Ryan plan.

Appearing Monday night on Fox News, Gingrich said explicitly that his comments "Meet the Press" were “inaccurate” and “unfortunate,” adding “that was a mistake.” He even called Paul Ryan personally to apologize.

But this afternoon on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, Gingrich dramatically changed course and claimed that, in fact, the phrase “right-wing social engineering” was not a reference to the Ryan plan at all:

GINGRICH: By the way, it was not a reference to Paul Ryan. There was no reference to Paul Ryan in that answer.

LIMBAUGH: Well then what did you apologize to him about?

GINGRICH: Because it was interpreted in a way which was causing trouble, which he doesn’t need or deserve. And it was causing the House Republicans trouble. One of my closest friends, someone I truly and deeply respect, emailed me and said your answer hits every Republican who voted for the Budget. Well, my answer wasn’t about the budget.

Listen:

What will Gingrich’s explanation be tomorrow? Stay tuned.

ThinkProgress / By Judd Legum

Posted at May 19, 2011, 11:25am

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