What happens when a Great Debater loses a lesser debate?

posted at 8:40 am on January 24, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Call this the Battle of Dueling Disclosures. Newt Gingrich made a lot of political hay in South Carolina by demanding that Mitt Romney release his tax returns, getting Romney to trip up twice in debates last week on the topic. When Romney finally decided to release his tax returns, he issued a demand that Gingrich release his contract with Freddie Mac, which Gingrich promptly did. Who got the better of that exchange? Last night, it was clearly Romney:

Gingrich has claimed for months that he did no lobbying for Freddie Mac, but as the contract made clear, Gingrich didn’t report to the History Department at the GSE:

GOP candidate Newt Gingrich, who has said he never lobbied on behalf of his consulting clients, reported to a top lobbyist with Freddie Mac as part of a $25,000-a-month contract,according to records released late Monday.

The one-year contract overseen by Freddie Mac executive Craig Thomas represents only a portion of the former House speaker’s long relationship with the mortgage giant, which spanned eight years and resulted in at least $1.6 million in fees for Gingrich’s empire.

A chief lobbyist at Freddie Mac isn’t going to pay $25,000 a month for history lessons.  Romney took this point and repeatedly hammered Gingrich with it, as well as with the revolts by House Republicans in 1997 and 1998 that ended up pushing Gingrich out of the Speakership and into the private sector.  Gingrich reacted by claiming that he wouldn’t spend time refuting Romney’s “falsehoods” point by point, but spent plenty of time calling Romney’s attacks “false” … and promised to respond on a website later.  Meanwhile, Romney’s tax returns turned out to be straightforward affairs, with a 15% tax rate on his capital gains, showing that Romney paid $3 million in taxes and donated almost the same amount to charity as well.

Romney won this debate rather handily, although it wasn’t a terribly entertaining affair.  All of that took place in the first 30 minutes, and what followed was more of a roundtable than a debate.  There were few intriguing moments, mostly because this was the 19th debate and almost everything else was a rehash.  Rick Santorum had the only real notable moment after this, which came at the very end — and which in a more rational cycle might have been a game-changer.

Some complained about the lack of audience participation, specifically the admonition by NBC to not applaud or cheer.  I actually liked that approach.  These debates are too much like game shows as it is; we shouldn’t weigh candidates by their applause or cheers.  The quiet definitely seemed to take the wind out of Gingrich’s sails more than the other candidates.  The real problem with the debate was the questions.  NBC’s Brian Williams basically asked the same questions we’ve already heard ad infinitum in these debates, or else focused on attack themes from the campaigns in an attempt to generate some drama.  It was no coincidence that the debate got dull after that section of the questioning.

Williams may have been dull and unoriginal (perhaps necessarily so after 19 debates), but his Florida media partners on stage made him look brilliant in comparison.  Questions about Terri Schiavo took up five minutes of debate, which was last an issue in 2005.  What, no Elian Gonzales questions?  In an economy where millions can’t find work and Florida is almost in double digit unemployment, we got a question about whether the Everglades would continue to get federal pork.  It was an entire section of non-sequiturs.

Gingrich’s poor performance raises this question: if Romney can outbox him over his Freddie Mac contract and win a debate, what does that do for Gingrich’s claim that he can win the Presidency by outdebating Barack Obama and the entire national media?  It would not surprise me to see Florida voters rethinking that premise somewhat this morning, especially since Gingrich lost this debate by walking into his own disclosure trap.


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We’d hate to have a numbers guy fix our economy. I can feel your pain though.

tomas on January 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

csdeven on January 24, 2012 at 11:05 AM

BTW, csdeven and buydanish are two of the most obvious Mitt supporters..yet I have never seen any post where all they do is rip Newt, but never give any support or evidence of what Mitt can do to help this country.right2bright on January 24, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Your post at 11:05 has substantiated exactly what right2bright posted—long on Gingrich bashing and zero reasons why we should support Mitt Romney.

Many of the ABR’s worshipers do not want to discuss rationally, so there is no point. Not to speak for anyone else, but I am not interested in the echo chamber, so there is no reason to carry on long conversation with others who support the same candidate as I do.

Perhaps just a few short conversations csdeven? The Not-Romney folks would be all ears, please enlighten us with a smidgen of this “echo chamber”–that’s the point.

Rovin on January 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Ed is engaging in wishful thinking. Mitt did not win the debate. it’s really getting sad; I’ve always felt I could come to Hot Air for top notch analysis, but these days all I get is Romney hack jobs. Speaking of lobbying; hey Ed are you on Romney’s payroll? That’d make more sense then a conservative writing defenses of a guy who when asked what he’s done for the conservative movement lamely says he’s been a father. Pathetic.

The best judge for these things are the non-political. I managed to get my girlfriend to watch part of it and one of the things she said was Romney repeated himself a lot which was bad because the things he was repeating weren’t very substantive anyway. After Newt gave an answer on space policy she said “that was a much better answer.”

The idea that Romney is some super awesome candidate who will win over the precious moderates (like my non-political girlfriend) is a total myth or even worse a lie peddled by the elites.

Ed you’re getting more sad by the day. Newt didn’t have any grand slam standing ovations last night, but Romney was a quivering rambling substance free worm. Not a chance in heck in anyone could seriously call that a Romney win.

MikeRuss on January 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Why do any of them need a cheering section? It’s a debate, not a game show.

changer1701 on January 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Was Ronald Reagan participating in a gameshow???

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Gingrich lost the debate?

Did we all watch the same debate?

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Dude, Gingrich lost that debate. Romney cornered him, and Ron Paul called him out.

And it was obvious.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:39 AM

If blogs don’t make anything else clear, there is no one vision.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Of the remaining (top) three, Santorum is the best choice.

Pork-Chop on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

You guys would not have chosen Churchill, a drunkard, rebellious, out spoken, over weight, cigar smoking, arrogant arse…but would have chosen Chamberlain instead.

…and relax on attacking Newt.

right2bright on January 24, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Ron Paul is Neville Chamberlain.

I’ll relax on attacking Newt when Newt gives up attacking conservatism….

- Newt ripped Paul Ryan’s fiscal plan, thereby helping to steal precious momentum from the tea party movement.

- Newt trashes Romney’s legitimate capitalist successes.

- Newt criticizes Romney for having more money than he does… (good grief, how un-conservative can you get?)

- Newt recently supported the ‘global warming’ agenda.

- Newt has taken a fat wad of money from Freddie/Fannie, the organizations most responsible for the housing bubble disaster.

Yes, Gingrich (along with Santorum and others) did a great job in the 1990′s. But we have to take a look at the more recent picture as well. And the portrait we’re left with is pretty erratic. Isn’t that a fair point for discussion?

shinty on January 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Okay, you’ve convinced me, Newt took $1.6 million over ten years to bring the nation to the brink of financial ruin. Gosh he’s a cheap date.
Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Please don’t put words in my mouth. His answers have been wholly unsatisfactory if not blatantly dishonest. He was hired by the Chief Lobbyist, not their Human Resources Director. I want the truth about his activities there. Shame on me! If they are exculpatory, fine!

Buy Danish on January 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Was Ronald Reagan participating in a gameshow???

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Well, now that you mention it…

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

This election is no longer about defeating Obama, but of defending the family. Obama is no more of a communist than Newt Gingrich is. Gingrich declared war on Capitalism.

But Obama, at least as far as we know is an honest man who keeps his marriage covenant. Michelle Obama did not carry out an affair and steal another woman’s husband.

The Democrats are now the Party of Family Values. I can’t be a Democrat… yet. But I can no longer support a Party that applauds and promotes adultery as the preferred lifestyle.

Please, leave this morally bankrupt Party and let’s start something better.

petunia on January 24, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Bailing on Mitt, huh? It’s so sad when folks break up.

kingsjester on January 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Newt needs to explain how his time at Freddie Mac was spent advising them how to reform and avoid a bubble pop. Any other reason for him having been a consultant there is totally unacceptable given that organization largely engineered a society wide economic collapse. It is hard to believe the Republican nomination could go to someone with even a toe in that pool unless they have an exemplary explanation.

Resolute on January 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Dude, Gingrich lost that debate. Romney cornered him, and Ron Paul called him out.

And it was obvious.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I saw Gingrich put against the ropes, he got out of it and back out to fight. Romney was swinging at anything that moved, and Ron Paul was chasing fire flies with an old mason jar and some cheesecloth.

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Dude, Gingrich lost that debate. Romney cornered him, and Ron Paul called him out.

And it was obvious.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

. . . And then you woke up. Romney did not have any grand slam last night whatsoever. In fact, he had the most pathetic answer of the debate on the question of what he has contributed to conservatism. Even I was blushing in embarassment for him.

KickandSwimMom on January 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

The common refrain is that “the GOP base doesn’t support Romney” may be the most misused phrase ever in this election cycle. As a person who DID vote for Reagan and has never voted for a Democrat, I would have no problem voting for Romney. He may change his position on subjects, but at least he doesn’t lie about it, ala Newt.

Tater Salad on January 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM

I found several articles saying that Gingrich would protest against silenced audiences but no where does he say he won’t participate.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM

But Obama, at least as far as we know is an honest man who keeps his marriage covenant. Michelle Obama did not carry out an affair and steal another woman’s husband.

The Democrats are now the Party of Family Values. I can’t be a Democrat… yet. But I can no longer support a Party that applauds and promotes adultery as the preferred lifestyle.

Please, leave this morally bankrupt Party and let’s start something better.

petunia on January 24, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Adulterer begins the arduous task of returning us to a constitutional government with a balanced budget….

OR…

Marriage covenant man (as far as we know) continues the march to turn us into Greece.

Tough call, there.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

It is funny, how people attack Newt…but they never give any reason to vote for Romney.

right2bright on January 24, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Being critical of Newt doesn’t imply support for Romney. Newt is a big government, central planner, and deserves to be called out.

What’s really funny, is listening to Newt’s supporters describe him as a Conservative. All the candidates have their warts, so if Gingrich is your guy, that’s fine. But please, stop trying to blow smoke up everyone’s backside, by suggesting Newt is a conservative.

HarryBackside on January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Newt needs to explain how his time at Freddie Mac was spent advising them how to reform and avoid a bubble pop. Any other reason for him having been a consultant there is totally unacceptable given that organization largely engineered a society wide economic collapse. It is hard to believe the Republican nomination could go to someone with even a toe in that pool unless they have an exemplary explanation.

Resolute on January 24, 2012 at 11:47 AM

How about $1.6M reasons why?

Tater Salad on January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Romney did not have any grand slam last night whatsoever.

KickandSwimMom on January 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

I never said he did. I said he outperformed Newt Gingrich.

Because he did.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Drudge is pro-Romney, big-time.

kingsjester on January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Careful Ed. You are on the verge of being called a RINO, the GOP Establishment, a Mittbot and suffering from Palin Derangement Syndrome.

xxessw on January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Newt needs to not read his press clippings so much regarding his debate skills. He and Obama are similar in their confidence they can talk their way out of anything, convince anyone of the correctness of their positions, or rewrite history without challenge. He’s carrying too much baggage to make that all work.

a capella on January 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM

re: Newt’s history

- I left out Newt’s championing of the health care mandate…

shinty on January 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I never said he did. I said he outperformed Newt Gingrich.

Because he did.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I agree.

a capella on January 24, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Buy Danish on January 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM

I won’t put words in your mouth when you admit that there is no satisfactory answers he could give. You absolutely have a point about it being the lobbying division of Freddie but you still don’t know what he consulted with them about. Do you think it is possible that a large company with numerous employees might want to lobby on healthcare? I can speculate as good as the next person.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Ed is engaging in wishful thinking. Mitt did not win the debate. it’s really getting sad; I’ve always felt I could come to Hot Air for top notch analysis, but these days all I get is Romney hack jobs. Speaking of lobbying; hey Ed are you on Romney’s payroll? That’d make more sense then a conservative writing defenses of a guy who when asked what he’s done for the conservative movement lamely says he’s been a father. Pathetic.

The best judge for these things are the non-political. I managed to get my girlfriend to watch part of it and one of the things she said was Romney repeated himself a lot which was bad because the things he was repeating weren’t very substantive anyway. After Newt gave an answer on space policy she said “that was a much better answer.”

The idea that Romney is some super awesome candidate who will win over the precious moderates (like my non-political girlfriend) is a total myth or even worse a lie peddled by the elites.

Ed you’re getting more sad by the day. Newt didn’t have any grand slam standing ovations last night, but Romney was a quivering rambling substance free worm. Not a chance in heck in anyone could seriously call that a Romney win.

MikeRuss on January 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Aaaand…there you go. Ed…you Romney shill, mittbot /

Why can’t we all just let Mike’s girlfriend tell us who to vote for.

xxessw on January 24, 2012 at 11:55 AM

kingsjester on January 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Maybe he has something I haven’t seen. I’ll go look.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:55 AM

shinty on January 24, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Many thought it was a good idea and later decided it was feasible. I guess the Heritage Foundation should disband and lock the doors.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM

I found several articles saying that Gingrich would protest against silenced audiences but no where does he say he won’t participate.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Exactly.

KickandSwimMom on January 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Even HuffPo has picked up on the fact that Gingrich had to hire a bevy of lawyers to make sure his activities at Freddie were not ‘technically” lobbying. Kind of odd that someone only giving a history lesson would need such representation.

Tater Salad on January 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

The false meme that consulting with a publicly chartered private entity that used NO tax funds at all is the same as looting tax money continues unabated here.

FNMA and FHLMC are a standards creating entities that give credibility to mortgages bought by private investors.

That and the private Default Insurance on bundled mortgages backing bonds created by Goldman and friends on Wall Street for sale to overseas investors was a great stimulus for 1999 until 2004. Home ownership for renters shot up too. It funded Bush’s wars.

But no one stopped the new orgy of 100% loans without Private Mortgage by 2004 when it could have been a soft landing . It was a private business knowingly taking insane credit risks and the Dems running it were taking 100 million dollar bonuses from the glut of fees and commissions.

Blaming private citizen Gingrich for that now is like blaming a lawyer the private businesses hired for advice.

But go ahead and pretend. Some one must take the blame.

jimw on January 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Can’t hurt to be repeated.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM

KickandSwimMom on January 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

And what if the audience did react, what are they going to do, put them on restriction?

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

@bdomenech

So Romney’s top advisors favor $2 gas tax, VAT, Taliban talks, and not repealing Obamacare. Don’t worry, his principles will hold them back.

Heh.

tetriskid on January 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Was Ronald Reagan participating in a gameshow???

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

OK…point? What a ridiculous issue this is. Newt shouldn’t need cheerleaders in the audience, since he is such a great debater and all.

changer1701 on January 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

So Ed, you’re saying you believe Newt lost the debate last night? Which debate were you watching? It apparently wasn’t the same one everyone else watched. Newt deftly bobbed and weaved past every one of Romney’s flailing attacks, and even delivered a few jabs himself. No sir, The Great Debater hasn’t lost his touch at all. It was in full display last night as always.

jfs756 on January 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

The best judge for these things are the non-political. I managed to get my girlfriend to watch part of it and one of the things she said was Romney repeated himself a lot which was bad because the things he was repeating weren’t very substantive anyway. After Newt gave an answer on space policy she said “that was a much better answer.”

MikeRuss on January 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

You gotta admit, xxessw, this is a powerful arguement.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

OK…point? What a ridiculous issue this is. Newt shouldn’t need cheerleaders in the audience, since he is such a great debater and all.

changer1701 on January 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Damn those American peasants with their free vote!

Why can’t we just crush them and make them toil in the salt mine for Lord Romney!!!! / Mittbot

tetriskid on January 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

If you are the self professed greatest debater ever, do you really need audience participation?

Tater Salad on January 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Damn those American peasants with their free vote!

Why can’t we just crush them and make them toil in the salt mine for Lord Romney!!!! / Mittbot

tetriskid on January 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Now people are being prevented from voting? My word, how oppressed those poor peons must have felt for not being able to clap and hollar as if it’s the Jerry Springer Show.

changer1701 on January 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM

And what if the audience did react, what are they going to do, put them on restriction?

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Yeah, right! :) Seriously, the fact that Newt wants to allow audience participation doesn’t mean that he’ll always get the applause lines. He’s also taking a risk that he will at some point be the butt of negative reaction from them in these debates. He is advocating for something that is fair for all in the debates.

KickandSwimMom on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Now people are being prevented from voting? My word, how oppressed those poor peons must have felt for not being able to clap and hollar as if it’s the Jerry Springer Show.

changer1701 on January 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Trying to keep people from expressing their political opinion is pretty weak.

I can’t wait for the “expressing political opinion = communism” arguments.

Or, “The 1st amendment is outdated when it goes against Romney.”

tetriskid on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I am a Romney supporter – I think he has the skill set we need at this juncture. With that said, he blew his chance to slam shut the debate last night when he missed the opportunity to turn the last question towards the President. The question was about American greatness. He started well, America is still great, the people are great, etc. But what he should have done was then pivot and point out that the President is failing the country by limiting the ability of the American people to reach their greatness because a multitude of regulations and forcing unwanted change on the public. He could have closed that the greatness of the American people is not recognized or supported by the current President. With passion it would have ended that dreadful two hour marathon strongly.
But he didn’t. He has the strong message discipline of a businessman, but he needs to develop the ability to recognize an opening, loosen up, and then to attack strongly. He needs show passion, and use it at the right time.

A.S.R. on January 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Blaming private citizen Gingrich for that now is like blaming a lawyer the private businesses hired for advice.

But go ahead and pretend. Some one must take the blame.

jimw on January 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but isn’t the issue not one of who is to blame for the FM failures, but, rather, if Gingrich is picking nits on why he was hired in order to avoid the spectacle of cashing in on his contacts/reputation and being a very well paid influence peddler,…just another politician for sale?

a capella on January 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Dude, Gingrich lost that debate. Romney cornered him, and Ron Paul called him out.

And it was obvious.

JohnGalt23 on January 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Newtron LOST SO BAD that he is threatening to skip the debates if audiences can’t participate.

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/gingrich-says-he-will-skip-debates-if-audiences-cant-participate/?smid=tw-thecaucus&seid=auto

GO Newtron!!!!

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM

WealthofNations on January 24, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Well said.

captn2fat on January 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM

We all know that there will be no “audience participation” allowed during the general election with Obama, we shouldn’t be having it now either.

Book on January 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM

KickandSwimMom on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I believe the old saying is. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Is there a History Dept.? I always figured that Newt gave them information on how to interact with Members and staff on the Hill, that would be considered his area of expertise. Sorry, I just don’t get the outrage. I don’t see much difference in this and when Bain goes in to help and the company still fails. If someone can show me that he authored legislation for Freddie that ripped off the taxpayer, I’m all ears.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 8:57 AM

I’m with you. I can’t muster the outrageous outrage here.

totherightofthem on January 24, 2012 at 12:10 PM

This was a complete setup and demonstrates to me that the democrats are trying to help Mitt. Pretty stinkin’ convenient that they had to do a commercial break before Newtster could respond.

NBC won’t let the audience respond, which favors Mitt.

Then Mitt’s wingman, Ron Paul, did his best to attack Newt.

And Santorum was busy attacking Newt.

Yeah, I like Newt best at this point, but I think when he has the opportunity – like the network doesn’t go to commercial break – he sounds great and makes more sense than any of the others.

I personally didn’t like the way Mitt went after Newt with all those crazy allegations – a playbook from the left. Sling mud at all cost because there are dummies out there who can’t see thru it.

Patton531 on January 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I saw Gingrich put against the ropes, he got out of it and back out to fight. Romney was swinging at anything that moved, and Ron Paul was chasing fire flies with an old mason jar and some cheesecloth.

portlandon on January 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Yup!!!

That is why the Newtron is now crying like a baby and threatening to skip the debates if audiences can’t participate.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/gingrich-says-he-will-skip-debates-if-audiences-cant-participate/?smid=tw-thecaucus&seid=auto

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Yes, yes, protest and put on notice is exactly the same as “I won’t participate”.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Anybody But Obama!

None of the candidates is perfect. I think either would do better than Obummer. We have two MUCH better choices than we had 4 years ago (Palin excluded) because McCain wouldn’t fight.

They are both brilliant men in their own right. I disagree with both of them on some issues, and agree with them on some issues, whereas I disagree with everything Obama has done.

Let’s vet our candidates, but stop short of becoming so distracted that we lose sight of the goal – a) stop the bleeding and b) heal the nation.

patriotmom1776 on January 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Trying to keep people from expressing their political opinion is pretty weak.

I can’t wait for the “expressing political opinion = communism” arguments.

Or, “The 1st amendment is outdated when it goes against Romney.”

tetriskid on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I’m sorry, but I find the whole argument laughable. Do you need a crowd to tell you if someone has made a good point or not? Newt’s just after more of the bandwagon effect…he tosses some red meat out there, gets the crowd to react, then everyone else reacts to that crowd and wets their pants over it. ‘Oh my, did you see how they cheered. Or how they booed!’ Personally, I think we’re better served if the candidates just go at it without a cheering section.

I wonder if Ron Paul minds. He always got some love from the crowd, too.

changer1701 on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

. . . And then you woke up. Romney did not have any grand slam last night whatsoever. In fact, he had the most pathetic answer of the debate on the question of what he has contributed to conservatism. Even I was blushing in embarassment for him.

KickandSwimMom on January 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Yeah, it was really really bad for Romney.

That is why the Newtron is threatening to skip the debates if the audiences can’t participate.

Because the Newtron won, right?

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

GO Newtron!!!!

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM

It’s 3 a.m. and the adversary won’t let Pres Gingrich have an audience while he discusses ways to avert a catastrophic war. Gingrich refuses to participate saying “At the end of the day let the chips fall where they may”…

Bradky on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I am listening to Newt’s great debate campaign commericial on John Gibson’s show. I guess we now know that Newt’s debate skills are not as great as he makes them out to be. He’s not going to destroy Obama or any other candidate. Unless he has a cheering section, he is pretty weak. Maybe he looked good on paper.

Romney, Rick and Paul shot him down last night. Newt needs an applause track and a victim mentality to appear effective. Otherwise, he is a portly little senior citizen.

Philly on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

The best judge for these things are the non-political. I managed to get my girlfriend to watch part of it and one of the things she said was Romney repeated himself a lot which was bad because the things he was repeating weren’t very substantive anyway. After Newt gave an answer on space policy she said “that was a much better answer.”

MikeRuss on January 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

You gotta admit, xxessw, this is a powerful arguement.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Very solid argument. Apparently she has also recommended that NASA be stripped of public funding and Bieber be forced by mandate to participate in Dancing With the Stars- Season17

xxessw on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Romney won this debate rather handily,

I honestly don’t think this is true.

Everyone knew that Romney was going to go on the warpath for this debate. The real question preceding the debate was how Gingrich would respond. Would he be churlish and snippy or that ‘above the fray’ statesman he’s become in recent years? He was clearly a calm and measured, and even a bit Presidential. Romney seemed woodenly bombastic, which IS a real accomplishment, but not so effective during this debate. There certainly weren’t any ‘I paid for this microphone Mr. Green’ moments from Romney. As always, Romney looks like the perfect candidate when his mouth is shut. When he starts talking, the illusion falls apart. When Romney is on the attack he comes across as angry and desperate. Others, who are talented on the attack, come across as righteously angry, to a completely different effect.

At some point in a primary cycle people begin to stop listening to various candidates. This is especially true with Republicans. We rarely see them take things all the way to the convention. Typically, Republicans turn off the insurgents and go with the established candidate. They usually do this right after the results from South Carolina are in. Gingrich is certainly the insurgent candidate this cycle. But he won SC so overwhelmingly that it forced Romney to try to look like an insurgent. But I think the Republican electorate has begun to turn him off and just aren’t listening anymore.

JonPrichard on January 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM

It’s clear who won and lost the debate; Romney is attacking Newt on the themes he put forward last night, while Newt is on the morning shows complaining about the debate format.

Tater Salad on January 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM

I won’t put words in your mouth when you admit that there is no satisfactory answers he could give. You absolutely have a point about it being the lobbying division of Freddie but you still don’t know what he consulted with them about. Do you think it is possible that a large company with numerous employees might want to lobby on healthcare? I can speculate as good as the next person.
Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM

You just put more words in my mouth. I did not “admit there is no satisfactory answer he could give”! On the contrary I specifically stated, “If it’s exculpatory, fine!” which means exactly the opposite of what you claim.

“Lobbying on healthcare” would be entirely different from advising Freddie Mac on healthcare plans for their employees, which was what I understood you to speculate originally.

Either way, it is up to him to explain what he did there, who he met with, and why.

Buy Danish on January 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM

It was like a TKO for Romney in the third round. Lucky for Newt, Referee Brian Williams stopped the fight because Newt looked weary and was getting smacked all over the ring.
I’m surprised Newt wasn’t better prepared for this match, it’s not like Newt didn’t know Romney was going to be more aggresive and take the fight to him.

Goodale on January 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Yup!!!

That is why the Newtron is now crying like a baby and threatening to skip the debates if audiences can’t participate.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/gingrich-says-he-will-skip-debates-if-audiences-cant-participate/?smid=tw-thecaucus&seid=auto

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Hearing things that aren’t there, are ya? So sorry, you may want to see a doctor about that.

Flora Duh on January 24, 2012 at 12:19 PM

I’m with you. I can’t muster the outrageous outrage here.

totherightofthem on January 24, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Hell, I’m not outraged,…..just cynical when it comes to politicians, money, and truth. Should I feel differently about Newt with his history?

a capella on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

The real story here is the left wing agenda. It was served well last night by both Mitt and Newt, I hope that they are satisfied with their responses because they are sure to see them again.

DDay on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

This has to be some kind of inter-stellar Karmic joke that God is playing on conservatives.
In one fell swoop, he has made a huge segment of the republican voters go against the 2 central themes they have decried against Dem presidents for years.

1. Clinton was an immoral, unethical man, who was a disgrace to the White House.

2. Obama is an empty suit who had nothing to offer but empty “soaring oratory”.

A Gingrich nomination will guarantee that those memes will be never be available for use credibly by conservatives again.

xxessw on January 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

It was like a TKO for Romney in the third round. Lucky for Newt, Referee Brian Williams stopped the fight because Newt looked weary and was getting smacked all over the ring.
I’m surprised Newt wasn’t better prepared for this match, it’s not like Newt didn’t know Romney was going to be more aggresive and take the fight to him.

Goodale on January 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Well said, without Brian Williams taking a break and then letting Paul and Santorum into the ring Newt would be getting out this morning. The last question before the break where he stumbled, bumbled, paused, looked confused, then gave an unmemorable response was telling.

Tater Salad on January 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Either way, it is up to him to explain what he did there, who he met with, and why.

Buy Danish on January 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Very true.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 12:22 PM

a capella on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Heck no.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Very solid argument. Apparently she has also recommended that NASA be stripped of public funding and Bieber be forced by mandate to participate in Dancing With the Stars- Season17

xxessw on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

The Bieber mandate will end up with SCOTUS. Mark my words. Meanwhile, there’s the whole Steven Tyler mess to sort out over at Idol. I expect subpoenas within a fortnight.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Yes, yes, protest and put on notice is exactly the same as “I won’t participate”.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Yes, yes, so, saying “we are going to serve notice on future debates that we won’t tolif for it. We’re just not going to allow that happen”

So, just how is the Newtron not going to allow that to happen?

CNN: The audience isn’t allowed to participate.

Newtron: I won’t allow that to happen.

CNN: The audience isn’t allowed to participate.

Newtron: You can’t do that.

CNN: If you don’t want to participate that is fine, the audience isn’t allowed to participate.

Newtron: You can’t have a debate without me. Whine whine, cry cry!!!

Go NEWTRON!!!!

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

It’s impossible for History majors to find a job, but Newt wants you to believe he is making 1.6 million fot it. Let it rain!!!

ZippyZ on January 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

The best judge for these things are the non-political. I managed to get my girlfriend to watch part of it and one of the things she said was Romney repeated himself a lot which was bad because the things he was repeating weren’t very substantive anyway. After Newt gave an answer on space policy she said “that was a much better answer.”
MikeRuss on January 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

You gotta admit, xxessw, this is a powerful arguement.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Very solid argument. Apparently she has also recommended that NASA be stripped of public funding and Bieber be forced by mandate to participate in Dancing With the Stars- Season17

xxessw on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 PM

You guys are mildly funny, but I was trying to make a serious point. My point is not that my girlfriend is some political guru or master tactician. She’s NOT interested in politics and is NOT a conservative (a center right moderate). I only brought her up because I think the idea that Romney appeals to moderates, while Newt chases them away is seriously flawed. And remember, the whole “electability” thing is the central pillar of Romney candidacy. Whatever guys.

MikeRuss on January 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Tater Salad on January 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Even HuffPo has picked up on the fact that Gingrich had to hire a bevy of lawyers to make sure his activities at Freddie were not ‘technically” lobbying. Kind of odd that someone only giving a history lesson would need such representation.

This is what we’re reduced to.

Gingrich doesn’t lobby. He’s paid to consult. He proves it. The fact that he proves it is somehow evil.

Meanwhile, Cayman Islands and Swiss Bank accounts are normal business.

See, that’s the problem with this hearsay bloviating. You can twist things however you want. How about this: “Romney closes Swiss Bank account to avoid scrutiny.”

Funny that I don’t see that particular headline on Drudge. No, instead we get as a headline made-up quote about Gingrich pulling out of the debate. If anyone can point me to the exact words Newt used to threaten pulling out (not “we won’t tolerate it”, but “we won’t participate”), please do so. But here’s soemthing from Huffpo: “Romney advisers stressed that the holdings in the Caymans – along with those in a Swiss bank account that was closed in 2010 after an investment adviser decided it could be politically embarrassing to Romney – were reported on tax returns and were not vehicles to avoid taxes.”

So he closed his bank account to avoid political embarrassment. Sounds pretty unethical to me.

You know what’s funny? I’m not a fan of Newt. Sitting on the bench with Pelosi damaged him almost beyond repair with me, and I thought I’d never in a million years vote for him. As recently as a couple of weeks ago I was considering holding my nose and voting for Romney. But the unhinged attacks of the last couple of weeks and the demented Paulbot-like attacks of the more rabid Romney supporters push me more and more to Gingrich. Not unlike the dubious protestations of Marianne Gingrich, the ongoing barrage of non-issues actually makes me sympathize with Newt.

I wonder how many others feel the way I do?

AJsDaddie on January 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

According to Intrade, Newt is pretty much where he was before the debate. The real loser last night was MSNBC for prohibiting audience participation.

mitchellvii on January 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Why do any of them need a cheering section? It’s a debate, not a game show.

changer1701 on January 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Of course they need a cheering section, how else would they know their message is getting through to their potential supporters (voters). I would think this is an important issue, how about you?

DDay on January 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I wonder how many others feel the way I do?

AJsDaddie on January 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Ohhh a few dozen or so. Few enough to qualify as statistically insignificant.

Bradky on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

It’s clear who won and lost the debate; Romney is attacking Newt on the themes he put forward last night, while Newt is on the morning shows complaining about the debate format.

Tater Salad on January 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM

But, but the Newtron will have control over the debate format. Otherwise he will what . . . .?

Cry?

Whine?

Take his marbles and go home?

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

I can’t believe the way some of you people pick up the media’s bash a Republican torch and run with it.

From the left-wing NY Slimes

Gingrich Threatens to Skip Debates if Audiences Can’t Participate

From the more impartial The Hill

Gingrich won’t ‘allow’ moderators to silence crowd at future debates

And in neither story or video did “Gingrich Threaten to Skip Debates if Audiences Can’t Participate”

Flora Duh on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Romney won this debate rather handily,

I honestly don’t think this is true.

Everyone knew that Romney was going to go on the warpath for this debate. The real question preceding the debate was how Gingrich would respond. Would he be churlish and snippy or that ‘above the fray’ statesman he’s become in recent years? He was clearly a calm and measured, and even a bit Presidential. Romney seemed woodenly bombastic, which IS a real accomplishment, but not so effective during this debate. There certainly weren’t any ‘I paid for this microphone Mr. Green’ moments from Romney. As always, Romney looks like the perfect candidate when his mouth is shut. When he starts talking, the illusion falls apart. When Romney is on the attack he comes across as angry and desperate. Others, who are talented on the attack, come across as righteously angry, to a completely different effect.

At some point in a primary cycle people begin to stop listening to various candidates. This is especially true with Republicans. We rarely see them take things all the way to the convention. Typically, Republicans turn off the insurgents and go with the established candidate. They usually do this right after the results from South Carolina are in. Gingrich is certainly the insurgent candidate this cycle. But he won SC so overwhelmingly that it forced Romney to try to look like an insurgent. But I think the Republican electorate has begun to turn him off and just aren’t listening anymore.

JonPrichard on January 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM

This.

IndeCon on January 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Flora Duh on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Sort of like the explanation of how he was not a lobbyist but a history professor enriching the lives of Freddie Mac employees…/sarc

Bradky on January 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Hearing things that aren’t there, are ya? So sorry, you may want to see a doctor about that.

Flora Duh on January 24, 2012 at 12:19 PM

I heard the Newtron WHINING about the debate format. And that Emperor Newtron wasn’t going to allow that to happen again.

If the Newtron had won last night, would he be whining this morning?

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

You guys are mildly funny, but I was trying to make a serious point. My point is not that my girlfriend is some political guru or master tactician. She’s NOT interested in politics and is NOT a conservative (a center right moderate). I only brought her up because I think the idea that Romney appeals to moderates, while Newt chases them away is seriously flawed. And remember, the whole “electability” thing is the central pillar of Romney candidacy. Whatever guys.

MikeRuss on January 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Pardon me, but the size of your sample is showing.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

I guess we will see. I still maintain that if the audience is moved they will react regardless of what the moderators want and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Crowd reaction is an equal opportunity process since there are supporters of all in the audience.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Full disclosure: I’ve never been a huger Romney fan, for a myriad of reasons.

I was blown away by the exchanges by Mitt and Newt. Mitt came across as clear, authoritative,and definitely in control of that debate. Anytime you have to resort to “I don’t have time to answer your points, they’re so unbelievable, I’ll use a website instead.”, you’ve lost a debate. Newt nearly came unhinged in that debate. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him perform so poorly.

FantomBeats on January 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM

“We’re going to serve notice on future debates that we won’t tolerate — we’re just not going to allow that to happen,”

Emperor Newtron has spoken.

He will control the debate format from now on.

He didn’t lose last night BUT he won’t allow himself to look so bad again.

Go Newtron!!!!

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM

This is from the NY Times from a story called “My Dinner with Newt“:

Last week I received a fax that began:
“Jay — Late yesterday, Newt’s Business Defense and Advisory Council named you as a 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year representing Illinois.”
It came on the letterhead of Newt Gingrich, general chairman. It invited me to a “private dinner” on the evening of Oct. 7 in Washington, where I would get my award, and Newt and I would exchange ideas on getting the economy moving again. At the bottom of the letter in a font designed to look as if it were handwritten, it said, “Jay — Newt is looking forward to finally meeting you face to face — and get your thoughts on Cap and Trade and Obama’s Tax Policy.” (You can see the full invite below.)

O.K., I am not that naïve. I know that this was probably sent to 50,000 people, hoping that maybe 40 would take the bait. But I was hungry — not for an award but to try to get my head around all of the pending legislation in Washington and to be part of making sure that the voices of small-business owners are heard. I figured there would be an attempt to get some money out of me for the “cause,” but I wanted to think that Newt and his council really did want to get some input from small business owners.

Ha! After comparing it to the tawdry business of charging somebody they met at a bar $300 “party” he writes:

I called back the next day to sign up and to see if they had any hotel deals. I also decided to get something out of the way: “I know you probably can’t answer this question, but are they going to try to strong-arm me to give them money if I come?” The woman who answered this time — apparently, Newt was still away — replied: “There is a cost to come. It is $5,000 per couple.” Silly me. They were employing good business practices — get the money upfront

.

And if you follow the links you do indeed learn that this “award” was bestowed on a Pornographic film maker.

Here’s a copy of the invitation.

Buy Danish on January 24, 2012 at 9:32 AM

captn2fat on January 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Good Lord, why do so many people lose their objectivity and sanity when their guy is under attack,

First off, $25K is NOTHING in federal contracting. A typical figure for one person working for a year straight is anywhere from $150-300K for a senior analyst. For $25k you can get about a month’s work for a senior NASA engineer.

Newt and his crew would be a lot more pricey.

And the office you get the contract through is not always the one you do the work for. Sometimes it is just a matter of which contract had spare dollars and reasonable scope in place.

Even if competed the office may be supporting a larger effort. If you are naively looking at office title and jumping to conclusions you are making rookie mistakes about federal contracts.

besides, if a Romney supporter wants to claim Bain was a exemplar business model (as opposed to real business makers like Boeing and Apple), then whining about Newt’s consulting is over the top hypocritical whining.

The GOP establishment blew off the 2010 voters and now the 2010 voters are sticking it to the GOP establishment.

This ain’t rocket science folks (I should know).

AJStrata on January 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM

The Newtron MUST HAVE his groupies to win.

And with the help of his groupies, he ALONE will take it to Obama.

Go Newtie!!!

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM

First off, $25K is NOTHING in federal contracting. A typical figure for one person working for a year straight is anywhere from $150-300K for a senior analyst. For $25k you can get about a month’s work for a senior NASA engineer.

So, maybe it was a pension for past services.

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Here’s the problem. Even if Romney managed to defeat Newt in the debate last night (I didn’t watch it btw) He is still not liked by the 75% So if he managed to peel some of that electorate away from Newt, It’s unlikely that those people are going into his camp. If anything, they will move towards another “Not Romney” candidate.

Scorched_Earth on January 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM

The idea that people can’t cheer (within reason) at a debate is ridiculous.

And I have no idea who I favor at this point.

My vote against Obama is assured either way.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM

The Not-Romney folks would be all ears, please enlighten us with a smidgen of this “echo chamber”–that’s the point.

Rovin on January 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM

The rational ones do listen yet rarely respond. The irrational ones skim until they find out in which context a candidate is being discussed and then respond with invective if they don’t like it. They don’t follow links or do any research on their own to determine what the facts are. I don’t have time for people who refuse to edumacate themselves.

But I digress…..Those questions have been asked and answered since 2008. Those who support Romney have heard the arguments against him for years. There is nothing new, except the attempts of those who dislike him to make their arguments once again. This election cycle has produced some new stuff from Romney, but it is mostly a rehash of the last 6 years.

What is new is the vetting of the candidates that haven’t been vetted for POTUS. All have run the gauntlet and failed except Gingrich and Santorum. Now we are vetting Gingrich. His history is the news that needs to be fully vetted. In my view, those issues, even his history of infidelity, need to be fully vetted and considered to the very last detail.

csdeven on January 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM


Pardon me, but the size of your sample is showing.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Very funny, but Mike’s sample size is actually 1 larger than most of the people who post here.

HTL on January 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM

I wonder how many others feel the way I do?

AJsDaddie on January 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Ohhh a few dozen or so. Few enough to qualify as statistically insignificant.

Bradky on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Yeah.

You’re in that huge majority of SC voters who bailed on Newt because of the “open marriage” stuff.

Yeah.

I’m the insignificant minority.

Whatever helps you sleep, dude.

AJsDaddie on January 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM

A Gingrich nomination will guarantee that those memes will be never be available for use credibly by conservatives again.

xxessw on January 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

I don’t know if you noticed, but the availability of those memes hasn’t really done anything for us up to this point.

Night Owl on January 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM

No crowd participation definitely neuters Newt. It’s good we know that sooner rather than later.
From the linked story:
“NBC also noted that the eventual GOP nominee will debate President Obama in front of a completely silent audience, per the instructions from the Commission on Presidential Debates.”

captn2fat on January 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

And I have no idea who I favor at this point.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Well, I do, but they ain’t running.

nico on January 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

BEFORE:The Newtron says his debating skills will carry him to victory over ALL

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/01/23/new-gingrich-ad-only-i-can-win-debates-with-media-obama-and-beat-obama-in-general-election/

AFTER:The Newtron whining about the debate format.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/gingrich-says-he-will-skip-debates-if-audiences-cant-participate/?smid=tw-thecaucus&seid=auto

Go Newtron!!!!!!!!!!!

Gunlock Bill on January 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM

AJsDaddie on January 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

I am far from an expert but from what I understand, the off shore accounts were to help with Bain’s ability to be an international company, not to hide funds or escape taxes since neither occurred. If the accounts have indeed been closed it was probably because perception is all too often more harmful and the rational explanations. Read any thread here to verify.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM

“NBC also noted that the eventual GOP nominee will debate President Obama in front of a completely silent audience, per the instructions from the Commission on Presidential Debates.”

captn2fat on January 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

HEY! SHUT THE EFF UP!!! IF YOU EDUMACATE THEM, THEY WONT PROVIDE ANY MORE HILARIOUS HILARITY!!!

//

csdeven on January 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

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