Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R) said Sunday that there was nothing strange about his credit arrangement with luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. that left him and his wife with a bill of up to a half-million dollars.
Gingrich stressed on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the debt, reported five years ago by Callista Gingrich on a financial-disclosure form for federal employees, was for a no-interest revolving account that had been paid off. The form listed debt of $250,000 to $500,000.
“I am debt free,” Gingrich said. “If the U.S. government were as debt free as I am, everybody in America would be celebrating.
As host Bob Schieffer pressed for more details of the account, Gingrich said, “Go talk to Tiffany’s. It’s a standard, no-interest account.”
As for what he bought, Gingrich declined to say. “It’s my private life,” he said.
Gingrich also addressed criticism of his disastrous first week on the Republican presidential campaign trail.
That began with a firestorm ignited on NBC’s Meet the Press May 15, when Gingrich ripped the House-passed GOP budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, which proposes converting the federal health insurance for the elderly, Medicare, into a voucher program to reduce spening and save the program. On the NBC show, Gingrich dismissed the idea as “social engineering” and too “radical” to become law. When conservative pundits and voters rebelled, Gingrich quickly backtracked and even apologized to Ryan.
“I probably used unfortunate language…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 Sunday. He added that the Ryan proposal on Medicare is a good starting point, and maybe just needs some tweaking, which he did not specify. “He and I are on the same side in that conversation,” Gingrich said. “Obama’s on the opposite side of the conversation.”