BLITZER: This is a real battle that’s brewing on John McCain and his
friends, on the one side, Senator Rand Paul and some others on the other
side. One congressman from Michigan, Justin Amash, Tweeted: “Senator
McCain called Senator Paul, Senator Ted Cruz and me wacko birds. Bravo,
Senator, you’ve got us. Did you come up with that at
So who are you with, the McCains or the Rand Pauls?
GINGRICH: Well, I’m really disappointed in John McCain. And I’m
very saddened by it. McCain, in his younger years, was a great
maverick. He took on his party all the time.
Um, the idea that he’s now lecturing the next generation because they
have the guts to stand up, which is I – I would have thought John
McCain would have applauded them and he would have said, I may not agree
with you in detail, but I’m proud of the fact that you’re standing up
for your beliefs, you’re fighting.
I don’t know what’s happened to John McCain. But I find this very sad.
BLITZER: But on the substance of the issue, whether or not the – the
Obama administration needed to spell out the use of drones against U.S.
citizens on U.S. soil, who – who’s right, McCain…
GINGRICH: Rand Paul is right. I mean, if our constitution means
anything, it means that your government can’t capriciously kill you
without the rule of law. And it was very clear from the attorney
general’s earlier letters that they were reserving the right – remember,
we’re not talking about a combatant engaged in fighting against the US.
The minute you do that, you lose all your rights…
But if you say, we have a guy over here who sorta maybe plotting and may sort of think about it...who could be eventually be serious...because they have stretched this a long way.....
I'm a real conservative in the sense that I don't think the government should have the ability to take your life, and frankly, Senator McCain seemed to think it was outrageous to suggest this. Does he know nothing of history?
BLITZER: What do you make of this split that appears to be emerging among Republicans on this very sensitive issue?
GINGRICH: I think there’s a deeper split, which is a – which is a
split about tone. There are some Republicans who are so used to going
to nice restaurants in Georgetown and they’re so used to hanging out
with their friends in the establishment, that the tone bothers them.
Uh, I saw nothing that Rand Paul did that was inappropriate. In
fact, it was exactly why the U.S. Senate extends to individual senators
the right to talk forever. I’m for the House. We used to get one
GINGRICH: Uh, but the Senate has a very different tradition of
individuals standing up. So I thought Rand Paul was behaving in the
best tradition of the U.S. Senate. And I thought for a guy like McCain,
who had always been a maverick, who had – had reveled in opposing his
party’s establishment, to now be the – the sort of senior lecturer on
behalf of, uh, how you should behave, I just thought it was a very sad