NEW YORK -- The political world was abuzz Tuesday morning after the Wall Street Journal reported on an April 2006 memo in which an organization run by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised the health care plan Mitt Romney had implemented in Massachusetts.
ABC News quickly ran its own version of the story, based on the same memo. Several websites, including The Huffington Post, followed. By the time the Associated Press got around to churning out its own copy, the Gingrich campaign had responding, saying the former speaker's views were "old news that has been covered already."
The fact that Gingrich once praised health care reform built around the individual mandate is hardly a shocking revelation. He's been a much more ardent proponent of the policy than Romney. Nor, for that matter, is it all that surprising that he praised the former Massachusetts Governor in the past. Prior to the 2012 campaign, these candidates did, at various times, work together and compliment one another. Indeed, as one reader pointed out, even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) once had nice things to say about Gingrich, a politician he has basically labeled, during this campaign, as antithetical to conservative values.
Speaking on the House floor in June 2005 in favor of legislation that would withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization, Paul read from testimony Gingrich had given to the House Ways and Means Committee in June 1994, warning against transferring U.S. power to an international institution.
"I agree with Newt Gingrich on this, it was a huge transfer of power," Paul said. "I happen to believe it was an unconstitutional transfer of power and therefore we are now suffering the consequences because we have lost the prerogatives and control of our own trade policy."
The legislation that Paul was championing –- which declared that Congress was withdrawing its approval of the establishment of the WTO –- would go on to fail in the House of Representatives by a 86 to 338 vote. Its chief sponsor, at the time, was then-Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Gingrich had previously warned that Congress was "transferring from the United States at a practical level significant authority to a new organization." But unlike Paul, who has made criticism of the WTO and other international institutions a chief component of his policy platform, Gingrich was a supporter of the organization.