Did Gingrich tell the truth about backing Goldwater?

posted at 10:25 am on January 24, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Last night, Newt Gingrich asserted at the end of the debate that he had been personally committed to conservative activism far longer than any of the other candidates on stage. As evidence of that claim, Gingrich said that he attended a Goldwater organizing meeting in 1964:

I went to a Goldwater organizing session in 1964. I met with Ronald Reagan for the first time in 1974. I worked with Jack Kemp, and Art Laffer and others to develop supply side economics in the late ’70s. I helped Governor Reagan become President Reagan. I helped pass the Reagan economic program and worked with the National Security Council on issues including the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

However, Drudge uncovered this clip from an interview in 1988 in which Gingrich says he worked for Nelson Rockefeller during those years, who opposed Barry Goldwater’s conservative efforts in the GOP:

As the Palm Beach Post explains:

During one of his characteristic name-dropping riffs in Monday night’s GOP debate, Newt Gingrich said he “went to a Goldwater organizing session in 1964,” first met Ronald Reagan in 1974 and worked with supply side icons Jack Kemp and Art Laffer in the late 1970s.

The reference to Barry Goldwater‘s 1964 campaign is an important one for conservatives. Though Goldwater was buried by LBJ in a general election landslide that year, Goldwater’s campaign contributed to the rise of Reagan (his “Time for Choosing” speech was made on Goldwater’s behalf) and is regarded as the moment when the GOP began embracing conservatism rather than the more liberal brand of Republicanism symbolized at the time by New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.

If you carefully parse Gingrich’s claim, he never actually said that he backed Goldwater.  Gingrich merely stated that he attended a Goldwater organizing session in 1964, when Goldwater became the Republican nominee against Lyndon Johnson.  That wouldn’t surprise anyone, given Gingrich’s intellectual curiosity and his political ambition; why not go and see what Goldwater’s team had to say?  Still, Gingrich offered this as evidence of his long-term commitment to the conservative cause, and never mentioned his work as a Rockefeller organizer — for which he seemed apologetic by 1988 in this clip, offering that nugget as a bit of a confessional to underscore how well he understood both sides of the GOP divide.

If you polled baby boomers as to whether they attended Woodstock, you’d probably find that 30 million people went to that concert.  I’d put this in the same category as a harmless bit of spin.  Whatever else one says about Gingrich, he’s certainly been in the trenches for a very long time.

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Oh Glenn Beck said so. I’m convinced. Where do I buy by Romney 2012 bumper sticker?

angryed on January 24, 2012 at 10:57 AM

No, Glenn Beck didn’t say so. Gingrich said it in an interview with Glenn Beck.

Gelsomina on January 24, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Newt said that he attended an event sponsored by Goldwater.

astonerii on January 24, 2012 at 12:34

Okay. Play literalist.

You then have to say Newt was trying to pull a Slick Willie and deceive his own base about his past by carefully phrasing things to imply the opposite of what was true, but in a total weasel-word kind of way.

Or you can say he is pathological and actually believed what he said when he said it. However you want to do it.

P.S. If you are going to play literalist about Goldwater, play literalist also about Newt’s claim to have co-developed supply-side theory. Or say that Newt doesn’t know the difference between theory and practice.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Newt claimed last night on national TV that he helped develop supply-side theory in the late 70s. I am aware of no evidence that this is true.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Yeah.

I’m putting that one in the “I’m Al Gore and I invented the internet” category. Not such much an attempt to deceive the voters, as much as a clear self-deception, a case of a legislator, on account of laws he helped pass, thinking himself competent about the creation of things affected by the laws he helped pass.

Newt Gingrich is no more an economist than Al Gore was a network engineer.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Who the F really cares Ed, what Gingrich did in 1964? If that is all you’ve got, wait until someone brings out what Bain did under Romney’s care. Was all of it profitable? Why were their failures. By the way Ed, were are Romney’s conservative bona fides? Name one act of governance where he acted as a conservative.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on January 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

I retract the bit about supply-side theory, given that no one here has shown sufficient mental ability to grasp the claim.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 12:47 PM

^^ Newt’s defense that he only said he went to a Goldwater event.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Newt said that he attended an event sponsored by Goldwater.

astonerii on January 24, 2012 at 12:34

Had a friend who grew up in Chicago, but moved out to California. Her father would come out here, and tell the Bay Area Lefties about how he was proud to have been in the streets during the 1968 convention.

What he wouldn’t tell them was that he was there as one of Daley’s thugs, cracking hippie skull.

Funny guy.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Who the F really cares Ed, what Gingrich did in 1964?

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on January 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Apparently Newt Gingrich cares.

Cares enough to bring it up himself, and proceed to attempt to deceive us about it.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM

The GOP can’t win without the social conservatives.

Raquel Pinkbullet on January 24, 2012 at 11:53 AM

It can’t win with only the social conservatives, either.

Mr. Arkadin on January 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM

To the Trolls above on the Romney’s Positions:

Yea, many Republicans opposed Senator Goldwater’s stand on civil rights. Did you check out the garbage laws that were passed and their selective enforcement? Check our present sub-sleaze, incompetent AG for the latest examples.

They had nothing to do with social justice or progress for minorities.

You seem to be painting all Romneys with the same brush, as “RINOs” in this case. That is probably true.

George Romney was a Rockefeller Republican and supported them and walked out on Goldwater’s nomination. Newt identified himself as a Rockefeller Republican. So I am waiting for Newt to support the Romneys’ positions.

That would simplify this race.

IlikedAUH2O on January 24, 2012 at 12:56 PM

All the more to Newt’s credit because SC has already decided for us that we need a master duper like Newt to go up against a master duper like Obama.

John E. on January 24, 2012 at 12:58 PM

As a fundamental matter, there are at least four things you said that are demonstrably false…. and I will explain that on my website later.
/sarc
;)

acasilaco on January 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

The force is strong with this one.

I read that in Newt’s voice too! My internal monologue is narrated by Morgan Freeman though.

antisense on January 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Speaking of 1964 and the Goldwater vs. Rockefeller Republicans, I highly recommend Phyllis Schlafly’s 1964 book (now available on Scribd):

A Choice Not an Echo:
The Inside Story of How American Presidents Are Chosen

I was born after that election, and was first introduced to Schlafly’s 1964 book in 2008. I bought a used copy from Amazon and was absolutely amazed by the things Schlafly described in the Presidential elections up to that point, and how the book was timeless because the I could see the same things going on 44 years after she wrote the book!

I can’t speak highly enough about the book, and recommend that everyone read it, especially since you can now read it for free on Scribd.

ITguy on January 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Hey Newt Nuts!

Instead of defending Newt when he is caught lying or pulling a Slick Willie or being pathological,

why not say something like “he mispoke, but the larger point remains that Newt does have a more conservative track record than Mitt”?

Also quit blaming Ed for providing factual material. It’s conspiracy theory theatre around here.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Defending the indefensible with all kinds of contortions that you would never accept for one second if a Dem advanced them, doesn’t do your case any good.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 1:02 PM

It was the perfect question for Newt that gave him a perfect opportunity to show his conservative credentials compared to Mitt’s and Newt made an error and over-reached when he didn’t have to.

That is all that happened. Maybe he should learn from this not to overreach again.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 1:04 PM

You don’t have to establish that there is a nefarious Hot Gas plot against you, or that every word that Newt utters is true, in order to make a case for him.

And if you would approach it that way, you wouldn’t offend people who have some concern for the truth.

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 1:06 PM

So tell me Mittens brigade members, in 1994 when he led the GOP revolution was Newt a super secret double agent for the eeeeevil progresives?

How about when he balanced the budget with Clinton and without tax increases? How about when he cut taxes in 1997? How about welfare reform in 1996? Was all that part of some 178 dimension chess game to further communism in America?

angryed on January 24, 2012 at 10:59 AM

I’m not a member of the Mittens brigade, but there is at least one half truth in your claims. The budget was balanced from 1998 to 2001, Gingrich was speaker from January 1995 to January 1999.

Gelsomina on January 24, 2012 at 1:08 PM

He “went to” a Goldwater organizing session in 1964, but was that opposition research?

He was, after all, a state chairman for Rockefeller, and aparently proud of that fact!

He “met with” Ronald Reagan for the first time in 1974, but did he support Reagan in 1976?

He “helped Governor Reagan become President Reagan”, but was that only after Reagan won the nomination?

In the primaries, did Newt Gingrich support Rockefeller in 1964, Ford in 1976, and George H.W. Bush in 1980, when in each of those cases there was a more conservative candidate running?

I don’t know, but I do know for certain that in 2009, Gingrich chose to support Democrat-in-Republican-clothing Dede Scozzafava instead of true Tea Party conservative Doug Hoffman.

ITguy on January 24, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I do not have any issue with people saying that Newt did not support Goldwater, Newt said he did not, it does not mean that he did not learn something at the event that later informed his ideology. (Conservative principle!) The problem I have with all of you people trying to say that he did say he Supported Goldwater and him saying so is a LIE. I guess it is the Romney principles that you all adhere to. Opponent says one thing, put something else into his mouth, attack that straw man like it is the dispicable thing in the world. Romney Principles! Of course, that is how progressive argue. It goes to a state of mind. Romney Principles trump all other principles!

astonerii on January 24, 2012 at 1:16 PM

As Michelle Malkin said

Erickson wrote the truth back in 2009, when he expressed deep-seated grass-roots conservative discontent and distrust of Newt:

Newt endorsing Scozzafava aligns him with Markos Moulitsas who declared Dede the most liberal candidate in the race.

That aligns Newt with ACORN, which has twice endorsed Dede.

That aligns Newt with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, active supporters of Dede.

That aligns Newt with the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, and a host of other left wing interest groups including the gay marriage lobby.

Today Newt Gingrich stands athwart history and pees on the legacy of 1994, where it is no longer about principles, ideas, ideals, and integrity, but the raw acquisition of power for the sake of power. He aligns with a candidate to the left of the Democrat.

The GOP will not take back power until it repents of its sins that caused it to lose power. And chief among those sins was the abandonment of principle for the sake of power. But when a political party stands for nothing, it fails to stand.

At least we can thank Newt today for declaring himself out of the 2012 race. Or, should he stay in, conservatives at least no longer have to feel under any obligation to stick with him, since he makes clear in NY-23 as he did in MD-01 that he feels under no obligation to stick with conservatives.

Here is the awful GOP conundrum. We have a liberal Northeastern Republican front-runner, Mitt Romney, who can’t articulate conservative principles. And we have a Beltway insider with massive moral baggage, Newt Gingrich, who believes he’s above living conservative principles. Via Hot Air:

[Ex-wife Marianne Gingrich] kind of guessed it, of course. Women usually do. But did she know the woman was in her apartment, eating off her plates, sleeping in her bed?

She called a minister they both trusted. He came over to the house the next day and worked with them the whole weekend, but Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. “‘I can’t handle a Jaguar right now.’ He said that many times. ‘All I want is a Chevrolet.’”

He asked her to just tolerate the affair, an offer she refused.

He’d just returned from Erie, Pennsylvania, where he’d given a speech full of high sentiments about compassion and family values.

The next night, they sat talking out on their back patio in Georgia. She said, “How do you give that speech and do what you’re doing?”

“It doesn’t matter what I do,” he answered. “People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”

 

Noseplugs, anyone?

ITguy on January 24, 2012 at 1:17 PM

So Gingrich knows what its like to back a Rockafeller Republican and lose?

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:14 AM

The question is – what is he really?

Gelsomina on January 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

“There is almost a new synthesis evolving with the classic moderate wing of the party, WHERE, AS A FORMER ROCKEFELLER STATE CHAIRMAN, I’VE SPENT MOST OF MY LIFE, and the conservative/activist right wing. You have work being done by the Heritage Foundation as well as by such moderates as Tom Petri. Petri has extraordinarily broad support for his living wage concept, which represents an empowerment/citizen choice replacement for the bureaucratic/corrupt, liberal welfare state.”

- Newt Gingrich, 1989

“I am more in the Alexander Hamilton-Teddy Roosevelt tradition of conservatism.”

“I am Teddy Roosevelt.”

“I am a “Realpolitick Wilsonian.”

“It makes me, in some ways, like the two Roosevelts.”

“I’m An Eisenhower Republican.”

“I am a Rockefeller Republican.”

“I am much like [Ronald] Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.”

- So sayeth the “Georgia Reagan Republican,” who will soon be fighting with Obama over who gets to be Millard Filmore


Newt: If You Don’t Know Me By Now… (Mo Will Tell You Everything That I Don’t Want You To Know)

Resist We Much on January 24, 2012 at 1:28 PM

When it comes to the issue of integrity, I trust Rick Santorum and Ron Paul more than I trust Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

ITguy on January 24, 2012 at 1:29 PM

The question is – what is he really?

Gelsomina on January 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

For those willing to watch, I recommend this video:

The Real Newt Gingrich

ITguy on January 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Noseplugs, anyone?
ITguy on January 24, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Well, at least Romney can claim to be competent. Newt’s record shows that he is not. He is but a blowhard.

bluealice on January 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

So Gingrich knows what its like to back a Rockafeller Republican and lose?

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Dude, I give you points for that one!

kunegetikos on January 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Who cares who Gingrich backed in 19 freakin 64? That was almost 50 years ago. Goldwater got crushed, he only won 6 states. I think it’s safe to say Rockefeller would have done much better than that. So really, if he backed Rockefeller it was the pragmatic thing to do. Conservatives weren’t nearly as prominent as they are today back then.

Not a Newt guy, but this is rly much ado about nothing.

therightwinger on January 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

No, Gingrich was not cleared of the ethics charges. The Progress and Freedom Foundation that had paid for his lectures was cleared by the IRS of breaking tax laws.

Gingrich was accused of giving false information to Congress. He admitted it and paid the fine.

Gelsomina on January 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM

You parse!

Vince on January 24, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Here’s the quote:
“Gingrich denied violating tax laws and described his college course as nonpartisan. But he agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty for his misleading statements to the ethics committee as it investigated the financing of the college course and other issues.”

He never denied that he misled the ethics committee. He blamed it on his lawyer, though – which is vintage Newt.

I actually think that this was all part of a deal. The ethics committee promised to go easy on him if he resigned and paid a relatively small fine for some minor charge. He was toxic for the Republicans. They had the “worst mid-term performance in 64 years for a party that didn’t hold the presidency”, according to Wikipedia.

Gelsomina on January 24, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Well, at least Romney can claim to be competent. Newt’s record shows that he is not. He is but a blowhard.

bluealice on January 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Neither of them can claim to be honest.

ITguy on January 24, 2012 at 2:17 PM

I don’t understand why people keep insisting Goldwater was some kind of “super conservative.” Goldwater was for gay marriage and abortion, and had a lot of contempt for social conservatives.

I never understood it. But Goldwater is always held up by the LEFT the MSM and Mittbots as an example of a “conservative failure.”

Raquel Pinkbullet on January 24, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Read his book, Consciense of a Conservative. And Gay Marriage wasn’t an issue back in the day, although he deplored gay hate groups and supported gays in the military. He had a very strong libertarian streak, although he also had a very strong pro-military, anti-isolationist streak. He despised the Moral Majority and some of the more, er, outrageous statements by Falwell and Robertson. I think I remember him saying that “Christians ought to kick them in their keister” or something.

Pretty much, he didn’t subscribe to anyone’s PC mantra. Said what he thought and didn’t worry who it bothered. And he WAS the father of modern conservatism and he was deeply respected by his colleagues both Dems and Republicans because he kept his word.

Portia46 on January 24, 2012 at 2:33 PM

If you carefully parse Gingrich’s claim, he never actually said that he backed Goldwater. Gingrich merely stated that he attended a Goldwater organizing session in 1964

Correct, but again we get the MSM spin on it.

JeffinSac on January 24, 2012 at 2:38 PM

I don’t want a President whose words I must parse.

ITguy on January 24, 2012 at 2:57 PM

“Gingrich denied violating tax laws and described his college course as nonpartisan. But he agreed to pay a $300,000 penalty for his misleading statements to the ethics committee as it investigated the financing of the college course and other issues.”

He never denied that he misled the ethics committee. He blamed it on his lawyer, though – which is vintage Newt.

I actually think that this was all part of a deal. The ethics committee promised to go easy on him if he resigned and paid a relatively small fine for some minor charge. He was toxic for the Republicans. They had the “worst mid-term performance in 64 years for a party that didn’t hold the presidency”, according to Wikipedia.

Gelsomina on January 24, 2012 at 2:08 PM

“…you actually think..etc.”

You don’t know.

It seems you’re trying to make two separate things out the issue..i.e. the tax “violations”..and some other “ethics” violation.
They were one and the same.
You may think theres more to it, but you have no reason to think that imo.
Do you? Will you provide whatever it is that you’re basing what you think on?

Mimzey on January 24, 2012 at 3:39 PM

So what everyone above is telling me, is that they would rather have the Republicrat establishment infect them with that dreaded bacterial LEMMING disease, Mhit-For-Brains, first identified in Iowa as the dreaded COWPIES-For-Brains. Santorum, as nice a guy as you would ever want as a friend, will NOT get the nomination. Your crazy Uncle Ron ain’t gonna get it either (his supporters are self-identifying as pot heads and sundry other drug users.). At least the enough folks in South Carolina got the antidote for Mhit-For-Brains!!! Hopefully, the people in Florida will realize the “Charlie Christ” that’s being played on them, and they too will will inoculate against the dreaded LEMMING bacteria, Mhit-For-Brains before it’s too late.

Colatteral Damage on January 24, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Can’t wait to watch the slaughter on Nov. 6. Pig Newton, yah yah! Doesn’t matter if he’s a serial liar or a serial adulterer. Just as long as hes a conservative. Last opportunity lost. Idealogy is winning. What the hell is the matter with you people??

AReadyRepub on January 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM

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