Speechless.

(The Atlantic) — Newt Gingrich said today that he wasn’t referring to Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) Medicare plan when he uttered the words “right-wing social engineering” last Sunday — a comment that has earned the former House speaker a barrage of criticism that ultimately let him to call Ryan and apologize.

In a live interview with Rush Limbaugh Thursday afternoon, Gingrich said he hadn’t actually criticized Ryan’s plan in his Sunday appearance on “Meet the Press,” and that he wasn’t referring to the Wisconsin congressman when he said those words.

“It was not a reference to Paul Ryan. There was no reference to Paul Ryan in that answer,” Gingrich told Limbaugh, who was in the process of gently grilling him about why he used those words in the NBC interview.

Limbaugh asked Gingrich why, then, did he call Ryan to apologize for the remark, if it wasn’t made in reference to Ryan.

“It was interpreted in a way which was causing trouble which he doesn’t need or deserve,” Gingrich said. “My answer wasn’t about the budget, and I promptly went back to say publicly that I would have voted for the Ryan budget.”

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