Newt Gingrich, the former Republican presidential candidate who in 2011 referred to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan to revamp Medicare as “right-wing social engineering” defended of Ryan’s budget proposal on Sunday. The former House speaker said on CBS’ “Face The Nation” that the “basic thrust” of Ryan’s budget plan “is the right direction” for the country.

Newt Gingrich vouched for Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan on Sunday. (Spencer Platt/GETTY IMAGES)

In 2011, Gingrich, then a candidate for the White House, said it was “too big a jump” to transform Medicare into a voucher system, as Ryan had proposed. On Sunday, Gingrich said that a plan unveiled last year by Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to allow seniors to choose between Medicare and a subsidy for private insurance assuaged his concerns.

“The one thing I objected to back in May of 2011 was that he eliminated Medicare for everybody. He came back with Ron Wyden,” said Gingrich, adding that “he met my only objection.” (Gingrich has previously apologized to Ryan for his “right-wing social engineering comment.)

On Sunday, Republicans pointed to the Wyden-Ryan proposal as an example of an area in which the GOP vice presidential nominee-in-waiting has managed to work in a bipartisan manner.