Gingrich Flirts With Notion Of Obama Impeachment Over DOMA, Then Backtracks

In an interview with Newmax TV that is scheduled to air on February 27, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich discussed how President Obama “is breaking his word to the American people” over the Defense of Marriage Act, and stated:

GINGRICH: He swore an oath on the Bible to become president that he would uphold the Constitution and enforce the laws of the United States. He's not a one-person Supreme Court. The idea that we now have the rule of Obama instead of the rule of law should frighten everybody.

Imagine that Governor [Sarah] Palin had become president. Imagine that she had announced that Roe versus Wade in her judgment was unconstitutional and therefore the United States government would no longer protect anyone's right to have an abortion because she personally had decided it should be changed. The news media would have gone crazy. The New York Times would have demanded her impeachment.

The fact that the left likes the policy is allowing them to ignore the fact that this is a very unconstitutional act.

The Justice Department recently announced that it will no longer defend Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act following a review, in conjunction with the White House, that found that its definition of marriage as a “legal union between one man and one woman” is unconstitutional. But, as we've documented, the administration will not stop enforcing the law. Moreover, presidents from Thomas Jefferson to George W. Bush have opted against defending statutes they viewed as unconstitutional.

When the host asked, “Is what he's doing impeachable in your view?” Gingrich replied: “I think that's something you get to much later. But I think clearly it is a dereliction of duty, clearly it is a violation of his constitutional oath, and clearly it is something which cannot be allowed to stand.”

When the host pressed further, “At what point would the House or would you recommend the House consider articles of impeachment for that?” Gingrich replied:

GINGRICH: I think first you'd ought -- you have to communicate. Look, I don't think these guys set out to cause a constitutional crisis. I think they set out to pay off their allies in the gay community and to do something that they thought was clever. I think that they didn't understand the implication that having a president personally suspend a law is clearly unconstitutional. This is an impossible precedent.

Politico has now reported that Gingrich “is disputing the Newmax story, arguing that it 'inaccurately' suggested impeachment.” In a statement, Gingrich reportedly said:

Congress has every responsibility to demand President Obama live up to his constitutional obligations, but impeachment is clearly not an appropriate action.

Politico further reported:

But Newsmax isn't backing down. After Gingrich released his statement, the news organization followed with its own: “Newsmax stands by its story, which is based solely on the verbatim comments made by the Speaker during the video interview,” the news organization said in a statement.

Newmax conceded that, at the request of Gingrich's spokesman, it tweaked the published story to clarify his comments.

The Washington Whispers blog also reported:

A Gingrich spokesman writes to say that Gingrich did not raise the impeachment issue himself. “Gingrich never raised impeachment nor did he say we were in a constitutional crisis,” the Gingrich spokesman says. “His remarks, as can be seen in the video, were to illustrate the hypocrisy of the media and the left. He explicitly says that Obama did not intend to spark a constitutional crisis but that the president is acting outside of his constitutional role, but that does not mean that there is a constitutional crisis.”

In the interview, Gingrich also calls on congressional Republicans to refuse to fund the Justice Department “and take other steps as necessary until the president agrees to do his job”:

GINGRICH: I believe the House Republicans next week should pass a resolution instructing the president to enforce the law and to obey his own constitutional oath, which he took on taking office. And should say, if he fails to do so, that they will zero out the office of attorney general and take such other steps as necessary until the president agrees to do his job.

His job is to enforce the rule of law and for us to start replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama is a very dangerous precedent.

Gingrich, who as House speaker in 1998 voted to impeach then-President Clinton, has also previously called for Holder's resignation.