Does Newt Gingrich Want to Spread the Wealth Around?

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich arrives in the Russell Senate Office Building before addressing the Esperanza 2011 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference on Capitol Hill May 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. Gingrich has indicated that he will formally announce his campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination via Twitter on Wednesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Newt Gingrich; Photo: Chip Somodevilla

Mitt Romney may be the one taking all the heat from conservatives angry about his support for health-insurance mandates, but the Huffington Post finds that Newt Gingrich has a long history of supporting health-insurance mandates himself. And not just health-insurance mandates, but physical-fitness mandates as well. He sounds practically like Michelle Obama here:

According to a July 21, 2005 Gannett News Service article, the Georgia Republican also said that he would have Congress mandate physical education five days a week for all elementary and high school pupils as a way of combating obesity and diabetes.

So, health-care mandates, federally mandated physical-fitness programs for kids ... what else was this barely recognizable, liberal-sounding Newt Gingrich saying back in 2005?

While looking up that Gannett story, we found an even more shocking detail about Pre-Candidate Newt. In a Washington Post article from July 22, 2005, Dana Milbank reports:

Gingrich, out of elected office, was free to depart from his anti-government roots. With Clinton nodding in support, he came out in favor of mandatory daily physical education, healthful food in schools and a "transfer of finances" from rich to poor.

A "'transfer of finances' from rich to poor" sure sounds like some of that socialistic spreading-of-the-wealth President Obama was accused of advocating during the 2008 campaign. To be fair, we don't know the full quote or the full context in which it was spoken, but we should probably get an incensed Joe the Plumber on standby just in case.