WASHINGTON — Longtime political foes Newt Gingrich and Hillary Rodham Clinton joined cheerfully Wednesday to promote legislation on healthcare changes, joking that some might view it as a sign of a soon-to-come doomsday.
Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker, appeared outside the Capitol to promote a bill that would modernize medical record-keeping.
The senator joked that their joint effort had raised plenty of eyebrows.
"At our first meeting when we were agreeing so much with each other I think people thought: 'the end is near,' " she said.
As first lady, Clinton spearheaded a White House healthcare reform effort that failed in Congress. The resistance to her effort helped fuel Gingrich's "Contract with America" and his rise to the speaker position in 1995.
A decade later, they sound downright chummy.
"I find he and I have a lot in common in the way we see the problems that we're going to have to deal with in order to have a 21st century healthcare system," the senator said.
Gingrich was equally effusive, saying he was thrilled to be part of the bipartisan effort to reduce the amount of paperwork the healthcare industry creates.
The former House speaker told a meeting of newspaper editors last month that he expected Clinton to win reelection next year, then capture her party's presidential nomination in 2008 and have a good chance to win.
"Any Republican who thinks she will be easy to beat has total amnesia about the Clintons," Gingrich said.
He also said she had the added benefit of her husband, "the smartest American politician as her advisor."
Gingrich has acknowledged that he may run for the Republican nomination in 2008.