Newt Gingrich took to FOX News Monday night to compare President Obama to, of all people, Paul Krugman, one of the White House’s fiercest critics.
“This is a Paul Krugman presidency,” Gingrich told Bill O’Reilly. “[Obama] believes that stuff. He actually believes in left-wing economic ideas. The only problem with them is that they don’t work.”
It was an odd comparison, given that the New York Times columnist has staked out a position as Obama’s ultimate nemesis on the left since the very earliest days of his administration.
“If only!” Krugman replied by e-mail, when asked about Newt’s claim by TPM.
Krugman made the cover of Newsweek in Obama’s very first year in office as part of a profile entitled “OBAMA IS WRONG: The Loyal Opposition of Paul Krugman.” Politico’s Mike Allen labeled him the “anti-Obama.”
At the time of the Newsweek story, Krugman was arguing in his column that Obama’s stimulus plan was too small to prevent massive, prolonged unemployment and that the White House had failed to get tough enough on big finance. Needless to say, the stalling recovery today and Obama’s recent interest in negotiating multi-trillion dollar spending cuts hasn’t led Krugman to change his tone. One recent post recast the president as “Barack Herbert Hoover Obama.”
“This is truly a tragedy: the great progressive hope (well, I did warn people) is falling all over himself to endorse right-wing economic fallacies,” he wrote.
Update: Krugman has a blog post up entitled “Bwahahahaha, Newt Edition.”
“Yes, I’m secretly giving Barack marching orders, and only pretending to be deeply frustrated by his actions and rhetoric,” he writes. “Incidentally, those ‘left-wing economic ideas’ are Economics 101; and try stacking up my economic predictions over the past few years against any of Gingrich’s favorites.”
This story has been updated.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.