Newt Gingrich has declared that Dems must not use his now-walked-back criticism of Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan against the GOP, but guess what: Dems aren’t going to listen to him.
On a conference call just now, Dem messaging chief Chuck Schumer vowed that Dems would aggressively highlight Gingrich’s attacks on the Ryan proposal — and the subsequent backlash it provoked from Republicans — to paint the GOP as hostage to extremists and ideologically hell bent on ending Medicare.
“Newt and I are considered political opposites, but I couldn’t agree more with what he said Sunday about the plan to end Medicare,” Schumer said. “He acknowledged that it is right wing social engineering.”
“It was refreshing to hear such candor from a top Republican,” Schumer continued. “Gingrich was saying what everyone knows to be true: The plan is extreme.”
Schumer added that the fact that Republicans turned so aggressively on Gingrich proves that they have become far more extreme than they were in Gingrich’s heyday — and vowed that Dems would continue pounding away at this theme.
“He is the Republican canary in the coal mine,” Schumer said. “When that canary speaks truth, he is snuffed out. What Newt seems to realize is that it would be impossible to win the White House if they embrace the Ryan plan. If Republicans make endorsing the Ryan plan the standard in the Republican primary, it will make the nominee unelectable.”
“I feel for Speaker Gingrich,” Schumer continued. “ He’s entered the race only to find out that the Republican Party has been pushed considerably futher to the right than the party he led in the 1990s. His party has turned him into a political outcast.”
“We will not miss a single opportunity of reminding the public what it means for seniors,” Schumer concluded.
Schumer’s remarks reflect a sense — which is shared by the White House — that Gingrich’s blunder, and the GOP backlash it has provoked, have handed Dems a major opportunity. They are hoping to paint Republicans as significantly more extreme — and significantly more zealous in their ideological drive to end Medicare — than the man who is still remembered as the face of GOP extremism in the battle over Medicare’s fate in the 1990s.
UPDATE: As Think Progress noted (with video), Gingrich put Dems on notice against using his Ryancare quotes, claiming that “any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood. Because I have said publicly those words were inaccurate.”