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Gingrich comment on shutdown labeled 'bizarre' by White House

Day 3

Speaker: Clinton 'snub' was a factor

November 16, 1995
Web posted at: 12:15 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As the government budget standoff continued Thursday, House Speaker Newt Gingrich indicated the Republican hard line was due, in part, to a "snub" from President Clinton during their recent trip to Israel for the funeral of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta called the Gingrich comment "bizarre." (216K AIFF sound or 216K WAV sound)

The speaker said Wednesday that tough terms in the government spending bill President Clinton vetoed Monday night were included partly as the result of pique he and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole felt on Air Force One during flights with the president to and from Israel for the funeral.

Gingrich and Dole had complained earlier about their lack of discussions with Clinton during the 25 hours of flying time. But Gingrich went a step further Wednesday by saying the incident contributed to the government shutdown.

"This is petty," said Gingrich, indicating his displeasure at the way the two were treated. "You've been on the plane for 25 hours and nobody has talked to you and they ask you to get off the plane by the back ramp. ... You just wonder, where is their sense of manners? Where is their sense of courtesy?" (More from Dole - 120K AIFF sound or 120K WAV sound)

Newt Gingrich
Gingrich: "Snub"
Leon Panetta
Panetta: "Bizzare"

That "snub," the Georgia Republican said, was "part of why you ended up with us sending down a tougher continuing resolution" -- the stopgap spending bill that Clinton vetoed Monday. That veto led to the partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its third day.

"Not once did either of them say, 'Let's go in the back and sit down and try to cut a deal," Panetta said. "Frankly, it would have been inappropriate. Everybody knew this was about a funeral. ... This is bizarre. And even if that were the case -- which it isn't -- why would you want to shut down the government because you feel snubbed?"

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