During Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius’ testimony on Wednesday before a congressional committee following the problematic launch of the Affordable Care Act, CNN host Newt Gingrich tweeted his incredulous reaction to the secretary’s performance. He unfavorably compared President Barack Obama’s administration’s handling of the ACA roll-out to Richard Nixon’s post-Watergate obfuscations. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer did not let this assertion stand unchallenged.
“Sebelius dishonesty in testimony this morning exceeds anything president Nixon was accused of,” Gingrich tweeted.
“You’ve caused quite a stir with this latest tweet,” Blitzer began. “Did she commit any crimes?”
“Well,” Gingrich replied.
“Did Richard Nixon commit a crime?” Blitzer interrupted.
“First of all,” the former House Speaker attempted before being interrupted again.
“Did she commit any crimes?” Blitzer prodded.
“We don’t know yet,” Gingrich replied.
“Nixon broke the law with a cover-up, right?” Blitzer asked. “Nixon the only president forced out of office because he broke the law.”
“No,” Gingrich said.
“He lied,” Blitzer interjected again. “Then he covered up. He broke the law. That’s illegal.”
“She says the website never broke down,” Gingrich replied. “If you want to make the argument, she’s out of touch with reality, it wasn’t a lie because she hasn’t noticed.”
Blitzer pivoted to CNN host Van Jones briefly before returning back to Gingrich’s inflammatory tweet. Blitzer conceded that the cancellation of a number of insurance policies did suggest that someone in the administration was less than truthful.
“But on the point comparing him to Nixon,” Blitzer added. “I mean, just between you and me, that’s a little overblown.”
Blitzer pressed Gingrich to revise his statement, and Gingrich took the opportunity to revise his remarks. He said he would drop “exceeds” and replace it with “equals” if he had the chance to tweet it over again. Gingrich’s remark inspired laughs from both Blitzer and Jones.
Watch the segment below via CNN:
[Photo via screen grab ]
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