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Newt Gingrich: Obama, not Republicans, to blame for debt ceiling debacle

Responding to criticism that a government shutdown would be the fault of Republicans for bundling Obamacare with a debt ceiling deal, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, blamed the president for his unwillingness to negotiate.

"This isn't a dictatorship. The president can't say, 'Give me exactly what I want, or I'll blame you,' " Mr. Gingrich said on CNN's "New Day" on Friday.

House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, made a similar criticism of President Obama in a video released Thursday that wondered why the president was so eager to work with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but would not negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling.

Mr. Gingrich had some advice for current Mr. Boehner: "Pass a bill to keep the government open and see if President Obama will negotiate."

However, Mr. Gingrich said that the two government shutdowns in the 1990s were not a mistake and led to spending reform in things like welfare — something he doesn't believe would have happened without the shutdowns.

The House is expected to vote Friday on a continuing resolution that would keep the government running, but would defund Obamacare.

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