Gingrich calls climate ad with Pelosi the ‘dumbest single thing I’ve done’ recently

GOP White House hopeful Newt Gingrich wants voters to know he really, really regrets making a 2008 ad with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling for action to address climate change.

That is probably the dumbest single thing Ive done in recent years, Gingrich, a former House Speaker, said Tuesday on Fox News, calling the ad inexplicable.

The ad features Gingrich and Pelosi seated on a couch in front of the Capitol.

We do agree our country must take action to address climate change, Gingrich says in the ad. If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation that we need.

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The ad did not endorse any specific policies, but it came at a time when Pelosi was gearing up to push cap-and-trade legislation through the House.

The ad was sponsored by Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreWho should be the Democratic vice presidential candidate? The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes unexpected step to stem coronavirus Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives MORE’s Alliance for Climate Protection (which has since become the Climate Reality Project), a group that endorses greenhouse gas limits.

Gingrich also expressed regret over the ad in July, saying in a radio interview that it was “misconstrued.”

“I was trying to make a point that we shouldn’t be afraid to debate the left, even on the environment,” Gingrich said on WGIR radio of the 30-second television commercial. “Obviously it was misconstrued, and it’s probably one of those things I wouldn’t do again.”

Gingrich on Tuesday noted his opposition to cap-and-trade, saying on Fox News that there should not be a “central government model” solution.

But, explaining the ad, he said, “I do think it’s important for conservatives to be in the middle of the debate over the environment,” and said his comments in the ad were an endorsement of finding “innovative” ways to get clean energy.

Gingrich on Tuesday called himself “agnostic” on the question of global warming.

“I actually don’t know whether global warming is occurring,” he said on Fox. “The vast majority of National Academy of Science says it is, a minority says it is not.”

But he also warned conservatives not to take a hardened stance against belief in global warming.

“I say to all of my conservative friends, don’t assume automatically the entire National Academy of Sciences is wrong,” he said. “And I would say to the National Academy, don’t assume that vote by renowned scientists is necessarily true.”

The vast majority of scientists say the planet is warming and human activities — including the burning of fossil fuels — are a major reason why.

Several leading GOP candidates have expressed skepticism about global warming, humans’ role or both.

— This post was updated at 10:15 a.m.