GINGRICH: Well, we had a good private conversation. And we agreed that we're going to work together, both to make sure that the Democrats can't misuse information and can't lie about where we are, and also to make sure that we work together.
Because I did help create the Center for Health Transformation, there are a lot of things we can do together that is going to enable us to have an even better program to make sure that we get a better Medicare system that people want to have, that they voluntarily want to see voted for, and that they are prepared to support politically and prepared to support in implementation.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me tell you, I mean, I just read the transcripts. I said I was gone, so, you know, I don't have the benefit of hearing it.
But here's what struck me. You referred to Ryan's bill as too big a jump. When I first thought that, I thought that, well, we know it's not going to get passed in the Senate. I mean, that's not just happening, at least not with the existing Senate. So, it seemed like, you know, as much as people want to seize upon it in the Republican Party and love it, that it might, quote, "be too big a jump" because you can't get it passed.
And reading what you said, I mean, what I thought, is that a lot of the things you were focusing on are actually things that I've wondered about, and that's the tremendous amount of waste and inefficiency in the system. So, I was somewhat sympathetic, that was what you're pointing out.
And so, I sort of walked away from it, that you were -- you probably don't want to hear this, but that you were far more moderate than people may have typically thought on a topic like this. That may be not something you want to hear.
GINGRICH: Look, as I said, I think the way that particular thing came out was not as clear and not as decisive as it should have been. I think that we can do a number of things like stop paying the crooks, which would save $70 billion to $120 billion a year. I think we can do things like give senior citizens the right to choose and the right to have a series of choices, which the liberal Democrats don't like to give seniors the right to do.
And I think we can design a program -- the only point I was making was, when you tackle something the size of Medicare, and I've done this before, I helped reform welfare, the largest entitlement reform in our lifetime, two out of three people on welfare went to work or went to school. In '96, I helped reform Medicare.
And I think it is possible to talk with the American people, to get an enormous level of support, and to make it actually a political advantage to have offered a better Medicare program with better outcomes and with greater choices for seniors. I think that can be done. I think this is the beginning of that process.
And I shouldn't have allowed -- you know, it's not David Gregory's fault, you know? I should not have accepted his offer to answer a hypothetical question. I should have shrugged it off for the very reason you just said.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right.
GINGRICH: The Republicans can't impose anything.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. In looking at -- this is not a hypothetical question. This is based on the Ryan bill. What don't you agree within the Ryan bill?
GINGRICH: I think that the -- there's a process to start with. The country has look at it. The country has to ask questions about it. I would frankly, one of the places that Paul and I talked about for six or eight weeks is, I would like to see sooner, the opportunity for current seniors to choose a plan comparable to his.
And with it have the right to private contracting and the right to spend their own money, because if -- it's a choice, not a requirement, because I don't see why you'd want to keep senior citizens trapped in a government program and tell them they have no right to choose? We don't tell them they have no right to buy a car. They have no right to buy a house. They have no right to go on vacation. Why shouldn't they have some freedom to be able to have more choices?
And I think I would want to tart that earlier, because you'd want the experience of seeing what happens, and the experience of implementing, which would then help you operationalize larger changes down the road.
GINGRICH: Look, these are things that friends can agree on.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. But you're talking about -- when you are talking the sort of Medicare part, I sort of thought that most Americans like Medicare. They may want to improve it, but people, you know, people are glad that their parents have Medicare. They're taking care ,that the real problem who are the people who are not of Medicare age and who don't have health insurance. And that was the whole -- that was the whole design of the health care, is to try to figure out what to do with them.
GINGRICH: But that's a totally different issue and that didn't come up at all. And, frankly, Medicare is so important to so many people that you do have to look at it and you have to ask: can we modernize it and improve it in a way that people will be comfortable with and that they will like. I think the answer is yes, we can. I think we can give seniors many more choices.
I also believe and I've talked to people at IBM and at American Express and at Visa, I think we could literally save $70 billion to $120 billion a year by having a dramatically more effective method of managing Medicare and Medicaid, because we are paying the crooks literally that amount.
We wrote a book two years ago called stop paying the crooks. And it's amazing how much money your government wastes that ought to go to doctors or ought to be saved, but it sure shouldn't be going to professional crooks.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, to understand, the discussion, I mean, right now, is basically that it is something we're going to run out of money for? Not that it's necessarily a program that people don't like right now, but we're going to run out of money.
OK. All right. Now -- all right -- now, we handled the Paul Ryan problem. So, I mean, you put that aside. You've done at apology. He's a good Midwestern guy, so I'm sure he's accepted it.
Then you wake up to "The Wall Street Journal" and they hit you pretty hard today. And they said, "Gingrich to House GOP: Drop Dead." And they -- it's really blistering editorial. I know, it's -- you know, one day in a long campaign, but it ends with Mr. Gingrich speaks loudly, which brings some hard choices: who is the radical and who is the real leader? So, now, how do you recover from this?
GINGRICH: By laughing at it. I mean, look, anybody who knows my career knows I've spent 16 years helping create the first majority in 40 years. I, then, as speaker, led the House Republicans to the first reelection as a majority, since 1928. During that period, we reformed welfare, had the first tax cut in 16 years, balanced the budget for four years in a row.
I'd be glad for any of those editorial writers to show us what they've accomplished. The fact is, I have accomplished large things as part of a team. The House Republican team did a great job in the '90s. We made this country healthier. We brought the unemployment rate down from 5.6 percent to below 4 percent. We did it in a bipartisan way with President Clinton. I think that's a pretty good sign that you can be for bold change.
You don't think two out of three people leaving welfare to go to work and school is a pretty big change? And so, I would suggest to you, our record of achieving real change and getting it done in a way that the people rewarded us by reelecting us because they liked it is a good standard to set. And I'd be happy sometime to chat with editorial writers and they can share with me, the things that they've accomplished before they decide that I'm too timid because I think these are pretty large changes.
And my campaign is going to offer a lot of large changes, including a 10th Amendment implementation bill which enforces the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and takes a great deal of power out of Washington and sends it back home.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. It seems that in the last day or two since (INAUDIBLE) -- you know, since you've launched your campaign, the thing that you are fighting against is sort of the allegation within your party that you are a bad Republican, and seems like you're going to have to win back that one. Is that a sort of blunt description?
GINGRICH: Look, I think, in terms of the Washington news circle, that's absolutely right. And they are all talking to each other.
GINGRICH: If you want to come out to -- I'll be in Iowa for 13 more cities this week. If you want to see two, three crowds in Iowa, let them ask the questions and watch the questions asked, they ask about jobs, they ask about the price of gasoline, they ask about what we're going to do about housing. They ask about a whole series of practical questions that affect the real lives of normal Republicans.
And, remarkably, few of them have asked about the kind of thing that seems to fascinate the Washington literati.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, I debated whether to ask you this question, because, you know, that sort of feeds into, I guess, a little bit of your thought and I want to, you know, hand this one to you.
GINGRICH: Go for it.
VAN SUSTEREN: But there's a report today, and I'm not sure the relevance, maybe I'll figure it out later. But everyone is sort of, you know, seizing often, that you had a bill at Tiffany's in the range from $250,000 to $500,000 and it became known because Callista, your wife, when she worked in the House in the mid-2000s, she had to report some debt.
What's with the bill between $250,000 and $500,000 to Tiffany's and has it been paid?
GINGRICH: Now, later on, I want you to watch this particular segment, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.