What I Meant to Say

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: After his trial balloon that tax cuts could wait until the budget was balanced turned out to be made of lead, Newt Gingrich took to the House floor Friday to declare himself "deeply committed" to cutting taxes, rescuing Medicare and balancing the budget. "The precise way we do it is less important than getting it done," Gingrich said. "I am deeply committed to lowering taxes." The recantation followed days of conservative pressure on Gingrich after the Speaker had casually mentioned to reporters on Monday that the GOP should rein in its pursuit of tax cuts in the interests of striking a budget deal with President Clinton. Within 24 hours, a group of House GOP conservatives, many of them members of the class of 1994, wrote a letter promising to oppose any attempt to de-link tax cuts from the budget process. Meanwhile, Democrats spent the week reveling in the Republicans disarray. For his part, Gingrich hoped the speech would make amends: "I hope for anybody who is curious among our members, among activists, in the press corps they now get the clear message. Lower taxes, balanced budget, less power in Washington, more freedom back home, save Medicare on its own terms."