Newt Gingrich has taken a turn toward the bizarre with recent statements concerning health care. We all know that he is running for president, but for him to call the GOP Medicare plan ‘right wing’ and to support the unconstitutional mandate to force everyone to buy health insurance, is just too much weirdness all at once.

In a story in the Wall Street Journal, Gingrich “backed a requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, complicating a Republican line of attack on President Barack Obama’s health law.” Complicating the line of attack? He’s blasting it out of the water. The mandate is wrong. It is unconstitutional. And yet he supports it?

The former House speaker’s decision to stick with his previous support for an individual mandate comes days after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defended the health revamp he championed as governor, which includes a mandate.

The moves suggest the Republican primary contest, which will include both men, could feature a robust debate on health care, with GOP candidates challenging the Democratic law while defending their own variations.

Gingrich also called Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal “right-wing social engineering.”

Other Republican candidates for president, including Mr. Romney and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, have applauded Mr. Ryan for showing leadership in putting together a budget plan, but have declined to endorse its elements.

In the interview with the Journal, Mr. Gingrich also said that in advocating for big changes to Medicare, House Republicans have failed to both come up with the right policy, and to properly sell it to the country. He said bad salesmanship was part of President Obama’s problem in pushing his own health care plan. “Republicans should learn. There’s a big lesson there,” he told the Journal.

So… has Gingrich totally checked out, or is he on the right track?

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