Monday, May 23, 2011

Newt for president? Surely you jest!

Hosting the first-in-the nation caucus is a sacred duty for Iowans. As a result, it's a great place for visiting politicians considering a run for president to test the waters. The accompanying media coverage doesn't always mean great PR, though, as Republican Newt Gingrich found out last week while kicking off his "once in a century" presidential campaign. Early in the week, he received a blunt rebuke from Iowan Russell Fuhrman during a stop in Dubuque. Fuhrman told Gingrich he is an embarrassment for comments calling Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal to reform Medicare radical "right-wing social engineering." He then gave Gingrich a piece of advice:  "Why don't you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself." He's got a point. Leading up to this latest snafu, there have been a series of comments by Gingrich or disclosures concerning him that have made the former Speaker of the U.S. House look foolish. There was his attempt to explain cheating on his wife with a staffer (who now his wife) while pursuing the impeachment of Bill Clinton for lies related to the  former president's 
infidelity. He has also suggested everyone should pay something for their health care, making it harder to convince people that he wants to repeal "Obamacare" --- reforms already approved by Congress and championed by President Barack Obama. Then there was the report that he or his current wife carried a debt of $250,000 to $500,000 at the jewelry store Tiffany's --- a big red flag for a constituency that is increasingly focused on wiping out the national debt and deficit. So, maybe it's only a matter of time before something dumb Gingrich has done or says makes him an even bigger fool.

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