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Newt Chides NBC's Gregory, "Elite Media" For Limbaugh "Crisis"

MR. GREGORY: Limbaugh issued an apology yesterday, which many people may not know about, a portion of which reads as following, "In this instance I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke. My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." How much damage has this done?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: You know, David, I am astonished at the desperation of the elite media to avoid rising gas prices, to avoid the president's apology to religious fanatics in Afghanistan, to avoid a trillion dollar deficit, to avoid the longest period of unemployment since the Great Depression and to suddenly decide that Rush Limbaugh is the great national crisis of this week.

MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: There's no debate about access to contraception. There is a debate, which Cardinal George of Chicago has pointed out, is a war against the Catholic Church. You do have this weird situation where President Obama apologizes to Islamic extremists while waging war against the Catholic Church. That's the language, by the way, of the Catholic bishops. You have an issue here of whether the government can coerce the Catholic Church, not just into a contraception, but into sterilization and abortion, something I don't find any reporter wants to talk about. You have a president who voted for infanticide as a, as a state senator, who represents the most extreme pro-abortion position in America. So if you want to have a dialogue about this, David...

MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: ...let's set the record straight. Barack Obama, as a state senator, voted to allow doctors to kill babies if they survived the abortion. Barack Obama, as president, in the most radical anti-religious move made by a--by any president, is trying to coerce the Catholic Church at a time when he's been told by the bishops...

MR. GREGORY: Well, Mr. Speak...

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: ...that would have to give up every single hospital--wait a--let me finish. They would have--this is what they say.

MR. GREGORY: Right.

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: They would have to give up every single hospital, they would have to give up every single religious--every single university and college associated with the church because he is asking them to violate their religious beliefs. Now you want--if you want a debate...

MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: ...over whether or not the president of the United States should be able to impose his views on a religious institution...

MR. GREGORY: All right. And what he...

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: ...and whether America's now a secular country, let's have that debate.

MR. GREGORY: Can I just get to my question? Do you think it was harmful...

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Sure.

MR. GREGORY: ...that Limbaugh--certainly an influential voice in the conservative grass roots and you well know that--was it appropriate for him to apologize? Do you think he's done damage to the debate that you're now getting into?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: OK. Look, I think--I think it was appropriate for Rush to apologize, I'm glad he apologized. Do you think the president owes an apology to all the men and women in uniform who he, frankly, abandoned when he apologized to religious fanatics in Afghanistan? What's your opinion, David?

MR. GREGORY: Well...

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Should the president apologize to men and women in uniform that he abandoned?

MR. GREGORY: Well, I'm going to continue with my question, so...

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: If you want to get into a discussion about apologies, I'm happy to discuss it.

MR. GREGORY: I'm happy--well, so my question, though, is you, you want the other side to appreciate your view, which is that this is a religious liberty question at the heart of this access to contraception.

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Right.

MR. GREGORY: Can you appreciate the view of those who disagree with you, that this is an attack on women's rights? That's their view, reproductive rights, access to contraception?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Well...

MR. GREGORY: And in the extreme that it's some sort of war on women?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: It's not...

MR. GREGORY: Do you appreciate that view at all?

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Wait, wait. Nobody's blocking anyone from having access to contraception. No one. The young lady who testified can get access to contraception. Nobody said she couldn't. The question is, should a Catholic institution, or for that matter, the Ohio Christian University, which is a Protestant institution, which is a very pro-life institution, which is now being told it will have to pay for abortion pills. Now should, should, should a Protestant fundamentalist institution be dictated to by Washington politicians over whether or not it can have its own religious beliefs or have we become a country where it's OK to go to church on Sunday morning for one hour, but let's not actually express those beliefs the other--the rest of the week. Now I think this is, this is the most fundamental assault on religious liberty in American history despite every effort by the elite media to distort what it's about. It's not about access to contraception. People have--people who want to can get access to contraception every day. That young lady can get access to contraception. It is a question about whether or not a religiously affiliated institution should be coerced by the federal government.

MR. GREGORY: So it seems to me this, in your view, is actually a pretty fundamental issue, you just don't like the framing of it. But the fact that it gets raised is something that you think will certainly get you animated, you think it's certainly going to energize a lot of voters on both sides of the aisle.

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: Right. And I, I, I don't like the framing because I think the framing was false. That young lady has access to contraception every day. I mean, there's no place in America where it's illegal to go get contraception. What, what the question is, is should a religiously affiliated institution be required to provide abortion pills, should they be required to provide sterilization? Remember, the Obama rule was a lot more than just contraception. It--and by the way, Mitt Romney was on the wrong side of this issue in Massachusetts where he instructed the Catholic hospitals would be required to issue abortion pills against their religious beliefs.

MR. GREGORY: All right. Let, let...

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: So this is a very serious fundamental fight about religious liberty.

MR. GREGORY: OK. Fair enough. Let's move on to some of the, the other issues and also the state of your campaign.

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: OK.

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