Gingrich on jewelry bill: ‘Go talk to Tiffany’s’

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R) said Sunday that there was nothing unusual about his and his wife’s arrangement with Tiffany & Co. that left them as much as a half-million dollars in debt to the high-end jewelry store.

Gingrich stressed that the debt, which was reported five years ago by his wife on a financial disclosure form, was part of a revolving, no-interest account that has been paid off. The financial disclosure form showed between $250,000 and $500,000 in debt.

“Go talk to Tiffany’s,” Gingrich said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “It’s a standard, no-interest account.

“I am debt-free. If the U.S. government were as debt-free as I am, everybody in American would be celebrating.”

At the same time, Gingrich declined to say what he and his wife purchased at the jewelry store, saying only: “It’s my private life.”

Gingrich also responded to criticisms of his first week in the presidential race, which began with comments critical of GOP House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan and included other unhelpful revelations and even some run-ins with voters on the campaign trail.

Gingrich suggested during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday that Ryan’s plan was too big a pill to swallow. This Sunday, he said he was merely being inarticulate when he was talking about “social engineering.”

“I probably used unfortunate language on social engineering, but my point was really a larger one: that neither party could impose on the American people something that they are deeply opposed to,” Gingrich said, stressing that he is on Ryan’s side and that Ryan’s plan will be modified.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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