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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How Newt Matters

At RealClearPolitics, Scott Conroy notes that Gingrich has been ticking upward in the polls and gaining more attention than one would have thought after his staff implosion.

In aggressively challenging the approach taken by debate hosts ranging from Fox News to MSNBC, Gingrich has positioned himself as the voice of the besieged, and that has won him some accolades among the Republican rank and file.

During the MSNBC/Politico debate in California earlier this month, Gingrich received one of the best audience responses of any GOP candidate so far when he challenged the premise of moderator John Harris’ question that sought to pit Mitt Romney and Rick Perry’s records on health care against one another.

“I’m frankly not interested in your effort to get Republicans fighting each other,” Gingrich said before upping the theatrics by wagging his finger in Harris’ direction. “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. All of us are committed as a team, whoever the nominee is, we are all for defeating Barack Obama.”

In an interview with Sean Hannity last week, Gingrich said that his inspiration for acting as the intra-party defender was the book “Team of Rivals” -- Doris Kearns Goodwin’s oft-praised tome about the political adversaries of Abraham Lincoln who became Cabinet secretaries in the 16th president’s administration.

“I think we’re in a similar place,” Gingrich told Hannity. “I think to truly change Washington as much as we need to, we’re going to need everybody, and we’re going to need each of them in their own unique way, and we’re going to need them doing something that they’re very good at.”