Now, I’m going to assume that you didn’t come in during the third act of Newt’s career, and therefore you can appreciate just how funny it is when, on This Week, he’s whining to Jake Tapper about how hard it is to pin someone down who will just lie about anything!
TAPPER: In many ways, you are where you are because of your debate performances. Last week, you had a couple that were not your strongest, to say the least.
TAPPER: Why do you think that was? What happened?
GINGRICH: I was amazed. I mean, I’m standing next to a guy who is the most blatantly dishonest answers I can remember in any presidential race in — in my lifetime. And I’ve seen, I think, every presidential debate — presidential campaign debate or virtually every one. And, you know, he would say things that were just plain not true.
Look, it’s a little bit like yesterday’s L.A. Times report. I mean, now it found 23 foreign accounts he never reported until he released his taxes. He would say — he would say thing after thing after thing that just plain wasn’t true.
And I had — I don’t know how you debate a person with civility if they’re prepared to say things that are just plain factually false. And that’s going to become a key part of this. I think the Republican establishment believes it’s OK to say and do virtually anything to stop a genuine insurgency from winning because they are very afraid of losing control of the old order.
We tried a moderate in 1996 for president. He lost. We tried a moderate in 2008 for president. He lost. It’s very hard to take Romneycare and Obamacare and have a debate and have the Republican win that debate. You need to have a conservative who is a very big distance away from Obama, because you’ve got to have the space so that, in fact, you can communicate with the American people.
TAPPER: I want to follow up on some of these comments you’re making about Mitt Romney. The race has taken something of a nasty turn. Here’s an ad that you are currently running in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): What kind of man would mislead, distort and deceive just to win an election? This man would, Mitt Romney. If we can’t trust what Mitt Romney says about his own record, how can we trust him on anything?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: It sounds as if you’re saying in that ad, and here this morning, that Mitt Romney is unfit and does not have the character to be president.
GINGRICH: I am saying that he would not be where he is today, the debates this week wouldn’t have been where they were, if he had told the truth. And I think that’s a very serious problem for somebody. I think that you look at — again, he’s supposedly a great manager, yet he can’t explain 23 different foreign accounts that weren’t reported. He’s a great manager. He can’t explain being on the board of directors of the company which got the largest Medicare fine in history for fraud?
Somehow, every time it’s bad, he didn’t know about it or he wasn’t aware about it. He didn’t really understand the Planned Parenthood by law, the largest abortion provider in the United States, is in Romneycare? Romneycare literally defines Planned Parenthood in a key — in a part of the bill. He didn’t seem to quite know it.
Every time you turn around, this great manager consistently doesn’t understand whatever it is that would have hurt him. And you just have to look back and say, why can’t you be candid with the American people? You cannot be president of the United States if you cannot be honest and candid with the American people. And that’s compounded, frankly, by a number of the ads he runs, which are just plain false.
TAPPER: So you’re saying that he does not have the character to be president of the United States, because he’s, in your view, not honest.
GINGRICH: I’m saying it is a very — it’s a — it is a very serious problem when you have somebody who on item after item after item — I mean, the clip you had just now, he knows what he said in that clip is not true. I did not resign in disgrace. I did not pay a fine. And, in fact, CNN ran an entire piece recently in which they pointed out that on every single substantive count in the ethics investigation, every single one, that I was vindicated, including vindication by a federal judge, vindication by the Internal Revenue Service, vindication by the Federal Elections Commission. Now, Romney knows that.
TAPPER: Well, the clip — the clip…
GINGRICH: So he’s run a campaign of vilification.
TAPPER: The clip I just played was actually one of your ads, but let’s get to that Romney ad that you’re talking about…
GINGRICH: No, no, but I’m talking about the earlier — I’m talking about — I’m talking about the clip you showed of him campaigning yesterday.
TAPPER: Oh, OK.
GINGRICH: What he said yesterday, this wasn’t true.
GINGRICH: And so at some point, I don’t quite — I don’t quite — to be honest, Jake, I don’t quite know how you deal with an opponent, because you want to deal with them with civility, you want to deal with them in a positive way. I want to talk about big issues.
I talked about space this week, which I think is important for the country’s future. I talked about housing. I talked about creating jobs. I talked about the record I had working with Ronald Reagan to create jobs and the record I had working with Bill Clinton to create jobs. We talked about welfare reform as the first great entitlement reform.
There are all sorts of positive things. We have a proposal on Social Security which would allow every young American the option of having a personal Social Security account on the model of Galveston, Texas, and the country of Chile. So there are a lot of positive things.
And if you’ll notice, when you get outside the zone where Romney carpet-bombs with Wall Street money, and you look at what’s happening in the rest of the country, I’m ahead in all three national polls that were released this week. I’m ahead by a big margin, because when you come to positive ideas, I represent real change in Washington, I represent unleashing the spirit of the American people to get us back as a country, rebuilding the country we love. And when we get to a positive idea campaign, I consistently win.
It’s only when he can mass money to focus on carpet-bombing with negative ads that he gains any traction at all.
Sunday, Jan 29 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific | digby and Stuart Zechman discuss developments of the week, highlighting what’s been neglected or misrepresented on the Sunday morning broadcasts, drawing from their work of the prior week and the wickedly funny Bobblespeak Translations. Featuring CoT’s the ‘Most Ridiculous Moment’ from the Sunday morning talk shows. Follow @digby56 @bobblespeak @Stuart_Zechman. Listen live and later on BTR
Well, I just got off the phone with Odd Man Out and his two-year-old computer is apparently fried. (Along with his recently-completed novel.) Like most of us, Dave is middle-aged, unemployed and freaked out.
Now, I’d like to point out that he’s really a tremendous writer (you know, the kind that really annoys me) and I’ve been looking forward to him finally getting his work to a publisher. (The work which is on that fried laptop.) Well, now he’s pretty much in the depths of despair. So if any of you can feel his pain and want to help, hit the donate button (make sure you include a note) and I’ll get it to him.
You could donate to Darcy’s congressional campaign and not hate yourself a year from now:
Why do lobbyists have so much influence? Lots of people give campaign contributions; what is it that lobbyists are doing differently? Right now, most of the policy work in Congress is done by staff whose average age is 26, and who are typically covering 4-6 major policy areas each. If they’re lucky, they might really understand one of those policy areas. So when a lobbyist walks in and says, “Ok, here’s what you need to know about this bill your boss has to vote on tomorrow, here’s how your boss should vote, and here are your talking points,” and that’s the only information they’re given, of course the lobbyist will usually succeed.
It wasn’t always this way: there used to be internal think tanks in the House where members would pool their resources to hire deep experts in some topic area. There were, for example, experts on nuclear nonproliferation and arms control. So if a member of Congress wanted to know how big a threat Iran’s nuclear program is, or the impact of some piece of legislation with sanctions, there were deep experts they could consult who were part of their team. Gingrich banned shared funding of staff and canned those expert staffers in order to consolidate power, and as a consequence members have to rely on lobbyists, leadership, or outside organizations like the Heritage Foundation for the information they need. That’s totally fixable – and it could conceivably be fixed in the first week of a new Congress.