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Friday, March 25, 2011

Woops, Newt Did It Again: Trying To Defend Libya Flip-Flop, Gingrich Reverses Himself On Air Power

By Alex Seitz-Wald

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich went on Fox News last night to “attempt[] to clarify [his] stance on Libya,” as Fox itself put it, but only ran into more trouble. Gingrich has been in hot water since ThinkProgress caught him doing a complete 180 reversal on his stance regarding intervention in Libya — from demanding intervention “this evening” to saying “I would not have intervened.”

Gingrich has since tried multiple times to rectify the two conflicting statements, failing to do so each time. And last night with Greta Van Susteren, the same show where his Libya problems first began, Gingrich only dug himself deeper when he attacked Obama for making a “fundamental mistake” by relying on air power to protect civilians in Libya:

GINGRICH: If they’re serious about protecting civilians, you can’t do that from the air. Gadaffi is going to use light infantry, he’s going to use his secret police. He’s going to be in the cities, he’s going to be inside buildings. Your not going to be able to do that with air power. This is a fundamental mistake. And I think is a typical politician’s over-reliance on air power.

But two weeks ago on the exact same program, Gingrich said “all we have to do” to stop the Qadaffi regime from “slaughtering your own citizens” is use air power:

GINGRICH: All we have to say is that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable, and we’re intervening. And we don’t have to send troops,all we have to do is suppress his air force, which we can do in minutes.And then we have to say, publicly, that he is gone, that the military should switch sides now. … The fact there’s no more Libya air power, and the fact that the United States has come out decisively for replacing him, I suspect the military will dump him.

Watch a compilation:

Gingrich tried to explain his incoherent stances by telling Van Susteren that he is merely responding to what Obama does. “I was responding in each case to changes in Obama’s positon,” he said last night. Indeed, no matter what Obama does, Gingrich will be sure to oppose it — even if he supported that exact policy two weeks ago.

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