Gingrich Won't Debate if Audiences Can't Clap

The audiences are simultaneously one of the worst and most entertaining parts of the endless GOP debates, so we really don't want them to be silent.

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The audiences are simultaneously one of the worst and most entertaining parts of the endless GOP debates, so we really don't want them to be silent. Neither does Newt Gingrich, who threatened to walk away from any future debates if the audiences were prohibited from cheering, clapping, or (we assume) booing gay soldiers. On Monday, NBC's Brian Williams reportedly told the debate audience to hold its applause for the commercial breaks. On Tuesday, Gingrich told Fox and Friends that the rule suppressed the audience's right to free speech, and if that ever happened again he would pull out of the debates. The New York Times quoted the indignant candidate in The Caucus:

“I wish in retrospect I’d protested when Brian Williams took them out of it because I think it’s wrong,” Mr. Gingrich said. “And I think he took them out of it because the media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they’ve done in every debate.”

As at-home audience members, we wish he had too, because it would have been that much more action in an otherwise snore-worthy debate.

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