WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who prompted a 1995 government shutdown, ripped what he sees as President Obama's posturing in talks to hike the debt limit.
"There's no comparison between Obama and [former President Bill] Clinton. Obama's a very rigid, ideologically driven elitist. Clinton was a very practical, Arkansas, everyday politician who had worked very hard to move his party to the center," Gingrich told the Boston Herald in an interview published Tuesday.
Gingrich, one of several Republicans seeking to be the party's presidential nominee, said Obama and Clinton also differed in "schmoozing" lawmakers.
"I have not talked to anybody who has been on the Republican side who has been impressed with Obama in private meetings," the Georgia Republican said. "They all find him to be arrogant and distant and aloof."
Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, have been in a legislative battle for weeks over a plan to raise the nation's debt ceiling before the Aug. 2 deadline, when the nation would default on its obligations.
Obama has little choice but to sign a bill if he doesn't want to take a drubbing next year, Gingrich said.
"I think he has to sign a bill, because I don't think you can add an Obama default to an Obama depression and have any hope of running for re-election," Gingrich said. "I think that he has a real crisis in terms of what he's doing, much more than the Republicans."
Gingrich, who endured backlash for his part in the 1995 shutdown, said he and Boehner "are very different personalities," the Herald said.
His advice to Boehner is, "Every morning get up and talk about how you're trying to find a way to pass something which would avoid a default."