Former House Speaker Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE (R-Ga.) is offering rare — though measured — praise for President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCould the coming 'red wave' election become a 'red tsunami'? Bottom line Barack Obama wishes a happy 58th birthday to 'best friend' Michelle MORE, saying he is figuring out how to work with a Republican Congress.
“I think he’s learning,” Gingrich said during a radio interview with John Catsimatidis that will air Sunday. “All of a sudden, you’re seeing an outreach to [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell. You’re seeing a whole range of things happen that you and I would not have expected.”
Gingrich’s praise comes after the Senate passed a bipartisan trade package that’s at the top of Obama’s second-term agenda.
The White House and McConnell (R-Ky.) worked closely to pass the measure, which is also a priority for congressional Republican leaders but was opposed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and most Democrats.
“Now that the Republicans have the Senate, and he has no place to hide, he doesn’t have Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, to hide behind,” Gingrich said. "And maybe to some extent, the president is learning the reality of what he’s dealing with.”
After years of open hostility, Obama and McConnell have even said nice things about one another in recent weeks, raising hopes for future cooperation on must-pass issues.
Gingrich suggested his own collaboration with then-President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonCould the coming 'red wave' election become a 'red tsunami'? Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket A year into his presidency, Biden is polling at an all-time low MORE, on issues such as welfare reform and a balanced budget, could serve as a model for Obama and McConnell.
“Bill Clinton and I found a way to work for the country,” Gingrich said. “Both of us recognized that the country was more important than we were … We had an obligation to absolutely find a way to work for the country.”
Gingrich, who ran a failed bid for president in 2012, has been deeply critical of Obama in the past. Ahead of the campaign, Gingrich said the president’s actions could only be understood as “Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.”
While he looks fondly upon his relationship with Bill Clinton, he recently said Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket A year into his presidency, Biden is polling at an all-time low MORE would be a worse president than Obama.
“I think in the end, while Obama is a radical, and I obviously think he is very dangerous on foreign policy because he is so incompetent, he is not venal and he doesn’t corrupt the entire system,” Gingrich had said in an interview with The New York Times.
“Having the Clintons back in the White House would be like having a very bad mayor running a very corrupt city," Gingrich added.