The blog Verum Serum claims to have found an audio recording showing that Newt Gingrich supported Obama’s federal mandate, in a post titled Gingrich Called for ObamaCare Mandate in May 2009….
Breitbart TV picked up on that theme, asserting “this is the first example of Gingrich specifically endorsing President Barack Obama’s federally mandated version which many conservatives believe is unconstitutional and Gingrich has described as “clearly unconstitutional.”
This is wrong. I have listened to the entire audio recording, and Newt does not endorse the Obamacare mandate, in part because the speech took place before even the earliest draft of Obamacare had been proposed.
The actual discussion in the recording is nothing new, listen for yourself, it shows Newt saying what he has said before about not allowing free riders at hospitals including either having insurance or showing that you have the ability to pay. You can like it or not, but it’s not new or news, as Verum Serum acknowledges in its post.
The recording does not support the conclusion that Newt supported Obama’s federal mandate, which uses the police powers of the state to force people to buy insurance or face penalties.
At the time of Newt’s presentation, in May 2009, the earliest versions of Obamacare had not yet been released. Newt specifically notes that the details of what would be proposed were unknown and (at 27:00) the process was still in the “wish list press conference stage.”
The initial version of Obamacare was not released until early June 2009. My first blog post about the early draft (the Senate HELP Committee version) of Obamacare was on June 16 regarding the CBO assessment. Various iterations of Obamacare were proposed throughout June -August. The Obamacare legislation and mandate eventually focused on using the IRS as the enforcer.
The Verum Serum recording was before there was a specific proposal, much less a specific Obamacare mandate which turned into enforcement through tax returns and penalties.
It is not true, at least not based on the May 2009 recording posted at Verum Serum, that Newt supported the Obamacare mandate.
Update: Ugh, Breitbart TV doubles down, “But, newly discovered audio from a conference call in May 2009 shows that Mr. Gingrich praised the individual mandate put forth by President Obama.”