Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich lashed out at the liberal media during the Republican presidential debate on Tuesday. The next day Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace termed his performance “kind of sad.”
Gingrich, who is polling in the mid-single digits for the GOP presidential race, had nothing to lose by going on the offensive against the moderator John Harris from Politco, and based on the audience reaction he had a lot of support.
Harris: Speaker Gingrich, it sounds like we’ve got a genuine philosophical disagreement. In Massachusetts, a mandate, almost no one uninsured. In Texas, a more limited approach, about a quarter uninsured. Who’s got the better end of this argument?
Gingrich: Well I’m frankly not interested in your effort to get Republicans fighting each other.
(Harris and Gingrich talking at the same time)
Gingrich: The fact—the fact—no—the fact is—the fact is—you—you—you have—you would like to puff this up into some giant thing. The fact is, every person up here understands Obamacare is a disaster. It is a disaster procedurally, it was rammed through after they lost Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, it was written badly, it was never reconciled, it can’t be implemented, it is killing this economy, and if this president had any concern for working Americans, he’d walk in Thursday night and ask us to repeal it because it’s a monstrosity. Every person up here agrees with that. And let me just say, since I still have a little time left let me just say, I for one and I hope all of my friends up here, are going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama, who deserves to be defeated and all of us are committed as a team. Whoever the nominee is, we are all for defeating Barack Obama.
Wallace, whom Gingrich scolded last month in Iowa for asking a “gotcha” question, may not have been the best person to evaluate Gingrich’s performance. Wallace was on with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer.
Hemmer: Newt Gingrich is low on money when you compare him like, to the upper tier of people like Mitt Romney. What did last night do for him, because he—he was fighting from the opening bell?
Wallace: Yeah, I’m not sure it did much. You know, he—he’s decided and—and he decided before he went after me in the Iowa debate and now after these moderators in this debate, that one of his things is that he’s going to try to attack the media. He ended up with 385 votes in the Ames straw poll, so it didn’t seem to work there. You know, I find it kind of—frankly, kinda of sad. He was one of the most compelling figures in American politics, and he is still filled with ideas, but—
Hemmer: But why is that sad?
Wallace: I’m not sure what—are trying to get the candidates to debate each other, I don’t know.
That wasn’t sad. That was a guy trying to remind the public and the media that at the very least he wasn’t going to stand for their attempts to turn the candidates on each other.
According to Politico Gingrich spoke with supporters via conference call last night and told them that his poor press treatment is because of his aggressiveness and that may be partially true, especially after the way he went after the media on Tuesday.
Conservatives generally approved of what Gingrich did. It showed that while his campaign is going absolutely nowhere he still could make valuable contributions to the debate, the mainstream media notwithstanding.
The media will whine that Newt was angry and mean towards them, but as we all know sometimes the truth hurts.