Newt Gingrich blasted the deficit-cutting supercommittee as “the dumbest idea I have seen in a very long lifetime."

The former Speaker, who is climbing in the polls, made the remarks at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, according to a report for Radio Iowa.


It was one of many colorful descriptions of his distaste for the committee.

He also noted it was “maniacally stupid” to have automatic triggers that will cut spending if the deficit reduction committee can’t come to an agreement on $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.

“God didn’t come down one morning and say, ‘If you don’t reach this deadline, terrible things will happen,” Gingrich was quoted as saying. “The politicians in Washington in both parties failed to achieve an intelligent solution in the summer, kicked the ball down the road, and are now in the process of failing to achieve an intelligent solution in the fall ... It’s as though somebody walked in and said, ‘You know, I’m under instructions to shoot you in the head unless you have me cut off your leg.’ ”

The deficit reduction panel has until Nov. 23 to reach an agreement on at least $1.2 trillion in budget cuts over a decade. Otherwise the triggers make up the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, half of which would come from defense spending. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has called these cuts “mindless” and said they would do “catastrophic damage” to national security.

Gingrich referred to the potential cuts as ”automatic stupidity as a replacement for self-government.”

On Sunday, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a member of the supercommittee, said Congress should reconsider the trigger, and floated the idea of legislating around it. But President Obama responded by saying the supercommittee needed to “bite the bullet and do what needs to be done.”

Gingrich sided with Toomey on getting rid of the triggers, while slamming the very idea of a committee charged with handling the matter.

He said lawmakers should “drop the threat” of the across-the-board cuts if the supercommittee fails.

“The idea that you’re going to browbeat the American people into supporting something stupid because you already passed something that’s even dumber is really bad government and a real betrayal of the principles of self-government,” Gingrich said. “Just drop it. Come to us with something that’s on its face worth passing.”

“I am watching the supercommittee in Washington with amazement,” he added.

Support for Gingrich in the polls has grown as former front-runner Herman Cain's has sunk after numerous sexual harassment allegations. According to a CNN-ORC poll released on Monday, Gingrich is up 14 points from October and only trailing Romney by 2 points — 24 percent to 26 percent.