(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

DAVID GREGORY: Do you think that Republicans ought to buck the public opposition and really move forward to completely change Medicare, turn it into a voucher program where you give seniors . . . some premium support and — so that they can go out and buy private insurance?

NEWT GINGRICH: I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors. . . .

DAVID GREGORY: But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare.

NEWT GINGRICH: I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options.

And what about the individual mandate, Newt?

DAVID GREGORY: Now I know you’ve got big differences with what you call Obamacare, but back in 1993 on this program this is what you said about the individual mandate. Watch.

GINGRICH ON VIDEO [1993]: “I am for people, individuals — exactly like automobile insurance — individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we ensure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.” . . .

DAVID GREGORY: You agree with Mitt Romney on this point?

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I agree that all of us have a responsibility to pay — help pay for health care. And, and I think that there are ways to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy. I’ve said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond. . . .

DAVID GREGORY: But that is the individual mandate, is it not?

NEWT GINGRICH: It’s a variation on it.

If it walks like an individual mandate and talks like an individual mandate . . .