“Now that our campaign to rebuild the America we love is gaining momentum, those who want to see us fail are on the attack, digging through Newt’s past to try and stop us.

“Newt, Callista and our campaign welcome the opportunity to tell the truth about Newt and set the record straight about Newt’s positions on the issues as well as his record in public life and as a private citizen.

“We’ve set up this page to arm you with answers to the attacks.”

***

“The 68-year-old Georgian told all comers to bring it on.

“‘If I can’t survive a few weeks of the news media, then I definitely can’t survive being the president,” he said. “If we can cheerfully get through this and answer in a way that the American people are satisfied with, then I deserve the nomination.’…

“‘I really see Mitt and I as co-front-runners,’ said Gingrich, adding that the nomination battle is ‘going to come down to Mitt and me.'”

***

“Ann Trimble-Ray, a Republican Central Committee county chairwoman in Iowa who considers herself socially conservative, thinks that Gingrich’s ‘past issues with marital infidelity’ may have ‘kept folks from jumping on a Gingrich bandwagon.’ But as Hawkeye voters have whipped through other candidates, a narrowing field has forced them to reconsider. Furthermore, while social conservatives want a candidate who has promised ‘to vote right’ on the issues they care about, Trimble-Ray says, they also want someone who is ‘best positioned to go up against Barack Obama in the general election.’

“In evangelical stronghold South Carolina, there is similar openness to Gingrich’s being the nominee. Oran P. Smith, president and CEO of the Palmetto Family Council, notes that most evangelicals have at some moment in their lives ‘turned away from their bad ways and moved forward toward a Christian worldview’ and may thus be sympathetic to Gingrich’s journey…

“‘Character counts and it should count, and we want to see leaders who have the right moral compass,’ Concerned Women for America’s Nance reflects, but she notes that there is also ‘room for redemption.'”

***

“Gingrich’s campaign did not respond to a request for an explanation. I suppose he could say that he did not agree with all the policies of his own center or that the mandate envisioned by this proposal would be a state-imposed obligation, not a federally imposed one (such as the ‘Obamacare mandate’ Gingrich so fervently opposes). But a 2007 column he posted on the Center’s website affords him no wiggle room whatsoever. In that article, Gingrich wrote,

“‘In order to make coverage more accessible, Congress must do more, including passing legislation to: establish a national health insurance marketplace by giving individuals the freedom to shop for insurance plans across state lines; provide low-income families with $1,000 in direct contributions to a health savings account, along with a $2,000 advanced tax credit to purchase an HSA-eligible high-deductible health plan; make premiums for these plans tax deductible; provide tax rebates to small businesses that contribute to their employees’ HSAs; extend and expand grant funding to high-risk pools across the country; and require anyone who earns more than $50,000 a year to purchase health insurance or post a bond.'”

***

“When it comes to global warming, Gingrich’s position seems to have changed faster than the climate.

“‘I don’t know if he’s just being opportunistic or of he’s had a real change of heart, but it is a bit disconcerting,’ said Jim DiPeso, the policy director for Republicans for Environmental Protection.

“In the more than 30 years since Gingrich was first elected to the House, he has said there is both sufficient evidence to prove the climate is changing and also that there is no conclusive proof. He supported a cap-and-trade program to limit carbon emissions and then later testified against it before a Congressional committee…

“‘There is no compelling evidence on either side to either rule it out or rule in it,’ Gingrich’s spokesman R.C. Hammond said of the candidate’s position on global warming and the impact of man-made pollution. ‘But at the end of the day he’s somebody who does care about the environment.'”

***

“[I]t’s no surprise that in the endless rounds of American Idol-fied GOP debates this year, Gingrich appears to be running as much for philosopher king as for president—or at least as the world’s most interesting dinner party guest. The Gingrich style mixes apocalyptic fear-mongering with sweeping historical narrative and frequent digressions into high-concept daydreams (‘Why not aspire to build a real Jurassic Park?’ he mused in his 1999 book To Renew America), all delivered in the tone of an elder professor making the rounds on the business consulting circuit…

“Since leaving elected office, however, his approach to Washington has relied heavily on his insider status, which he has used to cash in. Starting just five months after he left Congress, the former House speaker earned his consulting firm between $1.6 and $1.8 million in fees from government-backed mortgage giant Freddie Mac, according to a Bloomberg News report earlier this week. Was he paid for lobbying, like so many ex-legislators? Not at all, he claims. He was merely a policy consultant whose role was to dispense advice in his capacity as a ‘historian.’

“Gingrich would have us believe that the mortgage backer paid seven figures for his wide-ranging erudition and the pleasure of his company. Yet given how long the media have happily lapped up this self-appointed philosopher king’s antics, is it any surprise that he fully expects us to buy this idea? It may be that no one believes in Newt Gingrich’s inevitability more than Newt Gingrich himself.”

***

“Gingrich may not follow the Bachmann-Perry-Cain trajectory of rapid rise and rapid fall. He is a far more experienced national politician than they. He’s a familiar figure. It’s not as if, like Bachmann, he’s making a favorable first impression that will then be qualified, or, like Perry, that the idea of the candidate will be very different from the reality, or that, like Herman Cain, he seems a breath of fresh air. Voters who have warmed to Gingrich in the last few months could of course still have second thoughts, and his rise may stall and reverse. It would indeed be surprising if he doesn’t now hit some bumps in the road. But he could be formidable…

And even if Gingrich fades, let’s not assume it’s over. Bachmann and Santorum could still have a run in Iowa. If they continue to trail badly, it’s not out of the question that someone else could still present himself in mid-December to the citizens of Iowa (Hi there, Mike Huckabee! Hello, Sarah Palin!). Or, if Iowa (January 3), New Hampshire (January 10) and South Carolina (January 21) produce fragmented results, and the state of the race is disheartening to Republicans, a late January entry by another candidate isn’t out of the question, either. Couldn’t Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio win the January 31 Florida primary as a write-in candidate in such circumstances?

“With a splintered field in a turbulent time in an Internet age, there are more possible outcomes in today’s politics than are dreamt of in the philosophy of inevitability.”

***

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