(reposted from Bessette-Pitney)
There has lately been some campaign controversy over Newt Gingrich's relationship to Ronald Reagan. Gingrich suggests that he was a key supporter, whereas his critics say he was either irrelevant or hostile. As this blog has pointed out, he may have supplied Reagan with a key debate line in 1980. He also spoke in favor on the Reagan Administration's policies on many occasions. But he also broke with Reagan on issues such as tax increases and South African apartheid.
One measure of his significance in the Reagan universe is the number of times the president mentioned him in speeches, press conferences and the like. If one looks in The Public Papers of the Presidents, one finds exactly seven mentions of Gingrich during the entire eight years of the Reagan presidency. Five were brief acknowledgments in speeches that the president gave in Georgia. Here are the other two:
- July 24, 1981: "We have this chance because many of you have been working very hard. But I think our special thanks go to people like Barber Conable and Dick Cheney and Stan Parris and Newt Gingrich."
- March 2, 1984: "I'm gratified that Congressman Newt Gingrich is organizing a rally Monday night on the Capitol steps in support of our prayer in school amendment."
- July 24, 1981 Remarks About Federal Tax Reduction Legislation at a Meeting of the House Republican Conference
- January 26, 1984 Remarks at a Spirit of America Rally in Atlanta, Georgia
- January 26, 1984 Remarks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
- March 2, 1984 Remarks at the Annual Conservative Political Action Conference Dinner
- June 5, 1985 Remarks at a Fund-raising Dinner for Senator Mack Mattingly in Atlanta, Georgia
- October 8, 1986 Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Senator Mack Mattingly in Atlanta, Georgia
- October 28, 1986 Remarks at a Campaign Rally for Senator Mack Mattingly in Columbus, Georgia