Once a fighter, always a fighter, apparently. Newt Gingrich, who has engineered at least a couple of comebacks in the primary season so far but who also remains ridiculously far behind Mitt Romney in the delegate count, continues to find ways to make headlines, usually with remarks that indicate he’s still convinced he’s an unappreciated candidate whom Republicans will eventually regret not nominating. In the end, he might be right, but, by hinting at it so obviously, he’s not even giving us a chance to experience that regret.
Yesterday, his target was Fox News, which he criticized in a private meeting as biased toward Romney from the beginning of the primary. He also had provocative words for George Will and other conservatives who have been anything less than fans of his. RealClearPolitics reports:
Gingrich did not pull his punches in accusing Rupert Murdoch — the chairman and CEO of News Corp., FOX News’ parent company — of pushing for Romney behind the scenes.
“I assume it’s because Murdoch at some point said, ‘I want Romney,’ and so ‘fair and balanced’ became ‘Romney,’ ” Gingrich said. “And there’s no question that Fox had a lot to do with stopping my campaign because such a high percentage of our base watches FOX.”
He saved his strongest condemnation for syndicated columnist and ABC television commentator George Will, who has been critical of the former congressman throughout his campaign.
Gingrich said that Will was among the conservative media figures who harbored “personal jealousy” against him.
“In the case of Will, I was on [George] Stephanopoulos on Sunday morning with him, and it was kind of a ‘You’re not allowed to run for office — I mean, if you could run for office, why am I not running for office?’ ” Gingrich said. “And it’s almost like they were personally offended. You know, ‘This can’t be real, and how can this guy go do that?’ I got that reaction from Will a few years back about writing a book because I’m supposed to be a politician. He’s supposed to be the writer. Well, I’ve now written 24 books, and 13 of them are New York Times bestsellers. I mean, there’s a morning when George ought to just get over it.”
These quotes are painful to read. Not only do they smack of desperation, but they also show a lack of discretion. Sure, he was speaking at a private meeting — but he knew RCP had access to that meeting and “private” in this instance is an adjective that describes a meeting with Tea Party activists, not family friends. Every single thing he said might be true, but the remarks still make him look petty. Gingrich entered this race with a relatively sterling reputation as a former beloved Speaker of the House who was the architect of the Contract with America. I’d like to be able to think of him as an American treasure again right now, but these kinds of comments make that hard.