4. Debate Moderators
Gingrich thrived when he was being asked tough questions; he wilted when moderators started ignoring him. In South Carolina, he won the debate in the first five minutes with his outraged response to a damaging interview with his ex-wife, Zeke Miller wrote at the time.
5. Child Labor
“You say to somebody, you shouldn’t go to work before you’re what, 14, 16 years of age, fine,” Gingrich began. “You’re totally poor. You’re in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I’ve tried for years to have a very simple model. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
The proposal met bipartisan ridicule, though Time’s Joe Klein made the case that it’s not such a bad idea.
7. Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Gingrich proposed seven freewheeling debates in the general election, and said he would force the president to debate him:
I will appear four hours after Obama everywhere he goes for the duration of the campaign, and I will answer each of his speeches…The negative publicity that will get him—in the sense that he’ll be constantly running away—and the fact that it gives me the advantage of always being the guy with the answer. I suspect at some point he’ll decide it’s easier just to agree to debate me.
He did stage one of those debates in New Hampshire with Jon Huntsman last December. It was a lovefest, and a snooze.
9. Kenyan Anti-Colonialist Behavior
What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?” Gingrich asked, in floating an outlandish theory of the Democratic president. “That is the most accurate,predictive model for his behavior.”
10. Newt’s Favorite Words
Grandiose, Frankly, Profound, Fundamental. These words don’t always mean what he thinks they mean, but he carries it off.
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