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Gingrich Apologizes To Ryan

Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan(Getty/AFP)

May 17, 2011

Caught in a tumult of criticism after criticizing Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget proposal, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Tuesday afternoon called to apologize to the House Budget chairman, Ryan's office and a campaign spokesman confirm to National Journal.

Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler said his boss "apologized for his in-artful way of expressing his point" over Ryan's plan, which would effectively voucherize Medicare for those younger than 55. The former speaker of the House on Sunday said it was a mistake to make the voucher system mandatory and called it politically undoable, setting off a storm of criticism that continued unabated for the next 48 hours.

The criticism, which ranged from the Wall Street Journal to the National Review, threatened to knock Gingrich's not-yet-one-week-old campaign off track just as it was getting started. The damage was exacerbated by the fact that even as he reiterated he would repeal President Obama's health care plan, he maintained Ryan's budget was too politically toxic to pass into law.

Tyler said Gingrich wasn't backing off that criticism but said the candidate wanted to work with Ryan to devise a plan that would be popular with the public.

"We look to forward to help winning the argument," said Tyler. "And then we'll win the vote."

The former congressman made the call this afternoon while in Minneapolis for an event, Tyler said. He added that the two men had exchanged e-mails beforehand.

"I don't think there are any hard feelings between them," he said.

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