Newt Flash: Gingrich Played Politics in '93, Staffer Hates Literati Sheep

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When Donald Trump dropped out of the 2012 race, some bloggers were sad they'd no longer be able to unleash their most creative insults on a presidential candidate every day. Who else could possibly provide so much joke fodder? But the anguish did not last for long. We're only one week into Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign, and he's already become a media meme-plosion. Did you miss our (almost) daily Trumpdate? Perhaps Newt Flash will satisfy you.

  • 'Literati' 'Sheep' 'Unloaded Their Entire Clip' on Poor Newt Gingrich's week got off to a rough start when he described Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare "right-wing social engineering." Republicans hammered Gingrich for attacking the privatization plan, and eventually Gingrich reversed his position and apologized to Ryan. But Gingrich's spokesman Rick Tyler doesn't blame the candidate. Even though Gingrich has faced attacks from conservatives from Rush Limbaugh to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Tyler blamed the media, in an unusual email to The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone:

"The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces."

  • But Who Wrote That Email? The Wall Street Journal's Neil King Jr. note that in reading the statement, "many political operatives and scribes detected the hand of Mr. Gingrich himself, who loves the word 'literati' and favors martial language that evokes billowing smoke and dust. But Mr. Tyler, in an email, said he was the author."
  • Cantor: You're 'Out of Line' House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is the latest Republican leader to chide Gingrich on his Medicare statement, calling the candidate to tell him "he was out of line," Politico's Jake Sherman reports. "And he heard from me that I’m hopeful that he can get on board now and agree that we’re the ones with a plan."
  • Past Support for Mandate Was Just Posturing Gingrich had an uncomfortable interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren about his 1993 support for an individual mandate to buy health insurance--a core part of Obama's health care overhaul and a major taboo among Republicans today. "I do not support a mandate. I am opposed to Obamacare," Gingrich insisted.

"That was a clip from 1993, when in fact, the conservative position was to have individual insurance, in opposition to Hillarycare--because she wanted everybody to be in government--but let's get that out of the way, okay? ... I'm saying that you see a 20-second clip from 18 years ago, when you were fighting Hillarycare, and when virtually everybody in the conservative movement was united in trying to stop Hillarycare."

  • Former Aide: Campaign Close to 'Functionally Over' Rich Galen, who once worked for Gingrich, explains that everyone "who has ever worked" with Gingrich knows his "basic problem" is his tendency to statements like the Medicare one without thinking through them. Gingrich's campaign, Galen told Politico's Alexander Burns, is "close to being functionally over."
  • Getting Pushed Around? In 2006, Gingrich told Sasha Baron Cohen--playing Ali G.--that a woman could be president. Ali G. responded that women were easily manipulated--maybe they'd even get crushes on bad guys who negged them. Interestingly, given Gingrich's quick capitulation on Medicare, he replied, "People who get pushed around easily don't get to be president."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.