In a radio interview Tuesday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich admitted that he regrets making a climate-change advocacy advertisement with California Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi in 2008.
For many conservatives, however, the sentiment is too little, too late.
“I was trying to make a point that we shouldn’t be afraid to debate the left, even on the environment,” the Hill reported Gingrich said on WGIR radio about the television commercial. “Obviously it was misconstrued, and it’s probably one of those things I wouldn’t do again.”
The Hill noted that as late as January, Gingrich was sticking to his guns about the ad.
“I meant exactly what I said in that commercial,” he said then.
Gingrich came under fire from conservatives for his participation at the time of the ad’s release. The commercial has continued to dog Gingrich as he attempts to seek the Republican nomination for president.
While he may regret the ad, and he may be backing away from the ideas associated with it, conservative critics are still not amused. (RELATED: Exclusive: Cain to hold roundtable talk with American Muslim leaders)
“Newt Gingrich regrets that he made a television ad sitting on a love seat with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi on behalf of Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection only because it has come back to bite him politically,” Competitive Enterprise Institute director of energy and global warming policy Myron Ebell told TheDC. “Had a cap-and-trade bill been enacted with bipartisan support, as looked likely when he made the ad for Gore’s group, Gingrich might be crowing about how he led Republicans to support sound energy-rationing policy.”
Climate Depot, a website devoted to debunking the claims made by global warming advocates, has taken at least partial credit for pressuring Gingrich into voicing regret. Nevertheless, for Climate Depot proprietor Marc Morano, Gingrich’s words hardly make up for his past actions.
“We are still scratching our heads as to why Newt refers to [the] Pelosi ad as some kind of ‘debate’ that was ‘misconstrued,’” Morano wrote. “Mr. Gingrich, please just admit your whopper of a mistake and stop trying to spin your embarrassing behavior.”
James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute, told TheDC that while Gingrich seems remorseful, it took him quite a long while to back away from the commercial. (RELATED: Rudy takes on mobsters, but will he take on Obama?)
“I am glad to hear Newt Gingrich say he believes it is important to ‘debate’ Nancy Pelosi and other global warming alarmists on the alleged global warming crisis. To the extent Gingrich’s actions were allegedly ‘misconstrued,’ it sure took him a long time to correct the record.”
American Enterprise Institute resident environmental expert Kenneth Green was more forgiving, telling TheDC that the climate debate should not be a good-guy-versus-bad-guy conversation, and that politically, inter-party efforts can result in criticism.
“Cross-aisle efforts do put you at risk of being, not so much seduced, but misused,” said Green. “If you are not careful you can agree to work with someone, assuming that they are working in good faith, when in fact what they want to do is to use what you’re going to give them to portray you in a false light. I don’t know if that is what happened to Newt or not, but I’ve seen it happen before.”