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Letters: Gingrich On Bailout

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Now to your feedback. And one of our guests on yesterday's show generated lots of it.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

That would be former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. I talked with him about the economic crisis. He explained his view that Congress should not rush to pass the Bush administration's $700 billion bailout package.

Mr. NEWT GINGRICH (Republican Politician; Former House Speaker)I think we need to slow down, take a deep breath, hold public hearings, have experts testify, understand exactly what the agreement would be, where the money would go, how we would account for it. I don't think the taxpayers should be socked for $700 billion for welfare for Wall Street.

NORRIS: Your responses were mixed. Many of you responded much like Gordon Lindsey(ph) from Charlottesville, Virginia. He was surprised to find himself agreeing with the former congressman. He writes:

NORRIS (Reading) As a Democrat from way back, I have never been any great fan of Newt Gingrich. I always thought his Contract with America was a disaster for the country. But listening to him talk about the proposed Wall Street bailout, I found I agreed with him point by point. There was a lot of rational sense to what he said, and I think Congress should heed his counsel. What a surprise that All Things Considered would bring this old Democrat in unison with what I've always considered an arch opponent.

BLOCK: But we did get letters from some of you who didn't think Gingrich was the best person to turn to on the financial crisis. John Daley(ph) of Nevada City, California, writes that he was amazed. He says this...

BLOCK: (Reading) Here is a man who left office in disgrace, had many ethics issues during his career, and now the collapse of our economy is a direct result of his and the other conservative Republicans' economic philosophy. And yet, you interview him as if he is a knowledgeable elder statesman and don't even question his part in this whole problem.

NORRIS: We thank you for your comments and your criticism. You can send them to us at our Web site, npr.org. Click on "Contact Us" at the top of the page. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.