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Newt Gingrich Changes Tune on Paul Ryan Plan

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- Newt Gingrich, who in May called Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed budget plan “right-wing social engineering,” was supportive of the congressman’s new plan that passed the House on Thursday.

Calling his earlier remarks “vastly overblown by the news media,” Gingrich said Thursday night, “I like a lot of what Ryan does.”

“His budget is very, very positive and it’s very exciting,” he said in response to a Marquette University student’s question on the plan.

He said Ryan “has responded I think very positively to the critique. What he’s introduced this year is dramatically better, very defend-able.”

At his first event in Wisconsin, before Tuesday’s primary, Gingrich stressed his ties to this state, where his wife was raised.

“We really have a lot of ties,” he said. “Her mother lives still in White Hall, so in one sense we have ties to western Wisconsin, our son-in-law is from Sheboygan, so we have ties in eastern Wisconsin, and we own a share of Green Bay stock so we have ties to the whole state in that sense.”

But beyond what Gingrich had to say, more tellingly was what went unsaid.

Ever since taking flack earlier this week for asking supporters at a rally to pay $50 for a photo with him, Gingrich has avoided the rope line, snubbing those who came to hear him speak and avoiding the press.

He has not taken questions from reporters traveling with him at events since before his campaign confirmed on Tuesday night that they would lay off a third of his staff.

In the days since, it has been revealed that Gingrich met secretly with Mitt Romney last week and is trailing in last place in some national polls.

About 250 people attended the event, many of them College Republicans, but there were plenty of empty seats.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio 

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