Complete transcript and audio at McDermottReport.com.
LYNCHBURG - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said President Barack Obama is holding military families hostage in his budget battle with House Republicans and said that potential Republican rival Donald Trump's newest show is 'being Apprentice Candidate.'
Speaking at The Awakening 2011 conference at Liberty University on the eve of a potential government shutdown Apr. 8, the potential Republican presidential hopeful said that the government
"doesn't have to shut down today if the President is willing to work with the House Republicans one, to not have the military as a hostage, which as an army brat I find very offensive. I mean this idea that he won't pay for the military for a year and take care of military families while they're risking their lives for America I find, frankly, pretty darned offensive."
Gingrich faced his own budget showdown with former President Bill Clinton that led to a government shutdown in 1995. He had some advice for the current president and Speaker John Boehner. "Maybe they'd be better off to break the bill into three or four components and try to solve one of them a week and keep the government rolling one week at a time. That might be the most practical way to do it. I don't think a shutdown is unavoidable but of course they are running out of time," he said.
Gingrich said he thinks blame for a shutdown will split along ideological lines but that most Americans think the government is spending too much money. "Virtually every survey says the American people want a smaller deficit and less spending and they want a smaller government in Washington. I know of no survey that doesn't generally say the country thinks this scale of deficit is impossible to sustain and so I would say the country will ultimately sort it out," he said.
Gingrich laughed when asked his thoughts on fellow Republican Donald Trump's statement that he had a 'team of investigators' combing through records in search of President Obama's birth certificate. "I think that the Donald is such an interesting person in every way that being 'Apprentice Candidate' is his newest show. He's a terrific guy. He adds a lot to the race. I can't imagine what he'll announce by tomorrow. He's very inventive and I think frankly for a Republican party that is sometimes a little bit dull having somebody like Trump hang out is going to guarantee that you all have a lot more to cover. I think he is seriously inventive and I think he will have many things, none of which I intend to comment on," he said.