January 31st, 2012

Gingrich won’t debate Obama if the media sets the terms

I think this is another bad tactical move of Gingrich’s:

…Newt Gingrich returned Monday to his tried-and-true offensive against the media, declaring that if he’s the Republican nominee, he will not debate President Obama if a reporter serves as moderator.

“…[A]s your nominee, I will not accept debates in the fall in which the reporters are the moderators because you don’t need to have a second Obama person on the debate.”

…The former House speaker has said that as nominee he would challenge the president to seven, three-hour Lincoln-Douglas style debates, despite the fact that the debate schedule has already been set by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

He may think it makes him look as thought he’s a tough alpha-guy taking on everybody’s favorite nemesis, the media. But I think it makes him look whiny, inflexible, and afraid of facing Obama in a debate unless it’s on Gingrich’s terms. Since that isn’t going to happen—does anyone really think Obama or the media would take him up on his “offer”?—it makes him look as though he’s refusing to debate Obama at all.

And, since one of his strengths as perceived by his supporters is that Gingrich could best Obama in a debate, this weakens his cause still further.

I just don’t get it.

[NOTE: I wonder what Gingrich-supporters think of this approach of Newt's. Is it just political business as usual?

As for me, I agree with this comment at Ace's:

The worst and most revoltingly hypocritical aspect of the “ZOMG ROMNEY HATES THE JEWS!” argument coming from Gingrich now, in his final despair, is that he is criticizing Romney for attempting to cut wasteful government spending. That’s right: Newt Gingrich, True Conservative Tea Party Hero, is attacking supposed Big Government Spending RINO Mitt Romney for trying to slash government subsidies and spending…and attacking him as a crypto-anti-Semitic religious bigot, no less.
Newt just can’t help attacking from the Left.]

[ADDENDUM: And this comment from that same thread at Ace's is priceless:

Newt just gave a speech to a retirement community in Pembroke Pines, FL and he converted to Judaism in the middle of the speech.]

[ADDENDUM II: Here's an interesting video in which Romney employs the fist-in-the-velvet-glove approach on Gingrich:

It really has been very sad and painfully revealing about the speaker to see him railing on like this. I think in some respects this helps us understand why it is that out of the hundreds who he worked with as speaker, only a handful are willing to support him.


31 Responses to “Gingrich won’t debate Obama if the media sets the terms”

  1. Jim Nicholas Says:

    I agree. It is behavior like this, more than anything else perhaps, that has gradually diminished my support for him and has made me wonder about his judgment in general. It may say more about him than his changing opinions on policy questions.

  2. davisbr Says:

    …he’s not exactly been sparkling the last several days. May be obvious, but point Team Mitt.

  3. Curtis Says:

    If only Gingrich had some humor and employed the Reagan “well, there you go again.” But Gingrich doesn’t seem able to take the highroad.

    Having early considered Gingrich but then rejected him because I didn’t trust the reformed Gingrich (and found especially appalling and distasteful the front and center presentation of Newt’s devotion to Callista) I still never thought I would be forced to choose Romney over Gingrich. That’s like having to drink muddy water instead of sour milk. Whatever. I guess I’ll take a deep breath, let all my air, and drink whatever I have to.

    Gingrich, in this at least, is not a conservative: He cannot do nothing, which is sometimes the best thing, the most conservative thing, to do.

  4. SteveH Says:

    The sad truth is, one candidate can accuse the other of f****** chickens and get a rise in the polls (pun intended).

  5. gcotharn Says:

    What Gingrich is doing is despicable.

    Yet, Romney’s response reflects horribly on Romney:

    “It really has been very sad and painfully revealing about the speaker to see him railing on like this.”

    This is high school mean girl stuff which is unworthy of a Presidential campaign: merely promotes Romney’s major argument for why voters ought vote for Romney: “My opponents have too many flaws to be electable! Let me show you all my opponent’s flaws!

    Romney’s mean girl reply costs him votes with conservatives. He apparently does not care about losing those voters. He should care: when, in September 2012, Axelrod scares the beejeebers out of moderate voters, i.e. when Axelrod scares moderate voters into going to the polls to vote against the horrifying racist asshat Romney … then Romney will need conservative voters to pull him through. Will we be there? I do not know if I will be there for Mitt Romney. I like him less than I did a month ago, and less than I did 3 months ago, and less than I did 4 years ago. As I know Mitt Romney better and better, I dislike Mitt Romney more and more.
    http://ricochet.com/main-feed/The-Conversation-With-a-Florida-Tea-Partier-That-Should-Scare-Every-Republican The newly politically active mother of 2 young sons:

    [Romney] is completely uninspiring, and is everything we have been working so hard to defeat within the GOP,” Rebecca said. “Don’t even get me started on that Bain Capital picture. Ugh. There is no way he can win. And I don’t want to have to defend him while he tries.”

  6. Parker Says:

    Up front I will confess I have never had any confidence in Newt going back to the “contract with America” and I do not see him as a fiscal conservative (the only kind of conservative I’m interested in). I think he’s a blow hard, a loose cannon, and a philandering and pompous fool that hits the bullseye one out of ten times.

    However, I think he is on to something here. The MSM is the propaganda arm of the democrat party. Why should a republican candidate agree to allow the MSM to ‘moderate’ a presidential debate? Its a fixed fight from the opening bell.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: It should come to no surprise to you that I’m in major disagreement with you about Romney’s reply.

    After all the horse manure Gingrich has been flinging at Romney in the last day or two, Romney’s reply displays his ability to be calm in his response while still being hard-hitting. It differentiates him from Newt on the basis of temperament, which is important in a president.

    It also has the virtue of being true:

    “It really has been very sad and painfully revealing about the speaker to see him railing on like this.”

    Indeed it has. I’ve never been a Gingrich fan, but his behavior (beginning with the attack on Bain) has surprised even me. And not in a good way, either.

  8. Parker Says:

    “Don’t even get me started on that Bain Capital picture. Ugh.”

    Until someone can provide credible evidence that Bain did something illegal; anyone who brings up Bain fails to impress me that I should consider their fascination with Bain of any interest.

  9. jack Says:

    I think it’s a good move. I think whoever ends up the Repub nominee should demand it.

    Remeber Newt got his biggest pop in the polls when he slapped John King. The public loves it.

  10. Kurt Says:

    My opinion of Gingrich just continues to plummet the more he carries on and acts hysterical to try to get more attention. The robo-call about the Kosher food is ridiculous, and the point about the debates ought to disabuse everyone of the notion that Gingrich would easily win a debate against Obama by making it clear that there might not ever be a debate because the two candidates would probably not be able to agree on the terms. Obama wouldn’t agree to any terms that might be advantageous to Gingrich, and Gingrich is now showing that he’s afraid of being asked questions by anyone in the MSM.

    Romney’s comment about Gingrich quoted above mirrors my own reaction. The more he carries on, the more I understand why people found him so hard to work with and why his campaign staff quit a few months ago. It requires a good amount of self-delusion to believe that Gingrich will be able to win over enough independents in swing states that voted for Obama last time when so many people find him so unlikeable.

    Furthermore, aside from Sheldon Adelson, where do people imagine Gingrich’s campaign money is going to come from? I’m writing from Nevada where Romney has been running lots of ads for the past few days in advance of this weekend’s caucus. Ron Paul has been running many ads here, too. I have yet to see or hear an ad from Gingrich. If Gingrich is already behind in the money race, how does he imagine catching up when so many people don’t like him?

  11. gcotharn Says:


    Supercilious. And mean girly. If I have to choose between two jerks – Gingrich or Romney – then I choose the veteran jerk: Gingrich.

    In a general election, Romney is not going to enjoy a huge money advantage which will allow him to swamp Obama with sewage. Romney’s one by one swamping of his Repub opponents … is not an indicator of anything which will work in a general election in which media is aligned against him, and in which Obama has more $. What will Romney do, then? Will he inspire, then? Pish. I’ll tell you this: Romney needs a vice president who has a soul, and who speaks from the heart, and who can be a surrogate who connects with voters.

    This primary is a disaster. Rick Santorum is our final hope. Like Luke Skywalker (and Palin as Princess Leia).

  12. rickl Says:

    Gingrich’s behavior over the past few days has been downright bizarre. I’d say it’s probably a sign of desperation. He’s certainly not convincing anyone that he has the temperament to be President, and to have his finger on the big button. That kosher food thing was completely ridiculous.

    But the best thing I could see about a Gingrich candidacy would be his willingness to attack the media directly, and call them out on their bias. It must be done. They are the enemy, and that needs to be stated in no uncertain terms. They are nothing more than the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party, and I hold them responsible more than anyone else for Obama’s election. So I totally agree with his statement about not allowing media-controlled debates.

    The larger question is why has the Republican Party acquiesced to all of the prior debates being run by MSM leftists? Why didn’t they use moderators like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, or Dennis Prager? Never mind; I think I know the answer to those questions, and it doesn’t reflect well on the Republican establishment.

    There is no way that Romney will take on the media like Gingrich would. Or Obama, for that matter. I can see it now: Romney wins the nomination after a bloody, unpleasant, bare-knuckle primary fight and then says that we must elevate the campaign against President Obama above such ugly bickering. McCain II: “You have nothing to fear from a second Obama term.” And Obama and the media will eviscerate him.

  13. JuliB Says:

    My comment must have gone to moderation. Anyway, Soros said that he could work with either Romney or Obama.

    “If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference except for the crowd that they bring with them.”"

    Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh described Soros’ move this way: “He’s endorsing Romney. ‘Romney, that’s cool, no difference, I could go either way that way.’”"


  14. rickl Says:

    Yup, I saw that a couple days ago, JuliB.

    And he should know.

  15. Baklava Says:

    Romney is speaking right now:

    He staated, “A competitive primary does not divide us – it prepares us – and we will win!”


    He then holds Obama to his 3 year quote.
    He connected with seniors. then hispanic entreprenuers.

    He kept on tackling Obama for making excuses.

    “Mr. President you were elected to lead – you chose to follow – and now it’s time to get out of the way”


    His leadership [Romney's] cast over 800 vetoes and cut taxes 19 times.

    President Obama wants to grow govt. “I will cut the spending of government and without raising taxes will get america to a balanced budget”.

    “President Obama vision of a free economy is to send your money to his friends”

    “I will repeal Obamacare” :)

    “Like his collegues in the faculty lounge who think they know better ” people laughed.

    Mitt. Mitt. Mitt. :)

    Hey ! I’m not even a Romney guy but I’m catching a fever! Gingrich is off key. Romney is on key.

  16. Baklava Says:

    Darn it. Hugh Hewitt’s show went to commercial. I guess I’m done transcribing…

  17. rickl Says:

    “I will cut the spending of government and without raising taxes will get america to a balanced budget”.

    So he’s going to cut government spending by about 50% across the board? Cool.

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  18. rickl Says:

    …Of course, that means that all you folks who are relying on Social Security and Medicare are in for a bit of a surprise.

  19. Parker Says:

    “Of course, that means that all you folks who are relying on Social Security and Medicare are in for a bit of a surprise.”

    Oh, but they are in for more than a bit of surprise no matter who is the next POTUS. The days of the grand government Ponzi schemes are about to end. This slow motion train wreck has 2 years tops before the whole charade derails. Better forget about the flowers and wear some iron in your hair.

  20. Baklava Says:


    you are sounding like a liberal

    Read up on the Laffer curve.

    You can increase revenue by expanding the amount of taxpayers by growing the economy by cutting tax rates.

    Then – you don’t have to cut spending AS much.

    Your argument is the argument of the left. Static budgeting.

    A business guy knows that afte Reagan cut tax rates from the top rate of 70% to 28% the revenues into government went from 550 Billion in 1981 to 990 Billion in 1989.


    Because the economy grew. and grew. and grew.

    Study up bud! Love ya.

  21. goldby621 Says:

    Aside from disagreeing with most of the disparaging comments re: Romney (especially those relying on the Gingrich-defined Bain) there is another thing several of you miss.

    Re: JuliB’s comment:

    “Anyway, Soros said that he could work with either Romney or Obama.

    “If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference except for the crowd that they bring with them.”

    I think you all missed the VERY FAR LEFT’S George Soros objective. Or rather, you fell right into his trap. Surprisingly, Rush sure did. His inference is that the two are equally acceptable because the two are equally liberal.

    And you think….there! See, Romney’s a liberal. So vote for Newt.

    That’s EXACTLY what he wants you to think. Can you not see that? He is salivating at the thought of Obama running against Newt Gingrich and what they can do to absolutely eviscerate him! Newt Gingrich as Republican nominee is the liberals’ wet dream (pardon the expression if it offends).

  22. dicentra Says:

    Gingrich’s behavior over the past few days has been downright bizarre. I’d say it’s probably a sign of desperation.

    I’d say it’s a sign of narcissistic personality disorder. NPDs can’t respond to criticism sanely or gracefully, but rather lash out irrationally, usually to their own detriment.

    They’re so fixated on destroying the one who dissed them that they can’t see how absurd or destructive their vengeance has become.

  23. rickl Says:

    That’s EXACTLY what he wants you to think.

    I can’t help being reminded of the scene from “Little Big Man”:

    You Go Down There

    Soros probably regards the prospect of a Gingrich candidacy or a Romney presidency as a “win-win”.

  24. rickl Says:

    Cutting government by 50% makes me a liberal?

    The problem is that the rate of growth of debt and debt service is outpacing the rate of growth of GDP.

    There is no way we can grow our way out of this. The math don’t work.

  25. rickl Says:

    Utterly off-topic, but I found this while I was looking for the Little Big Man clip:

    A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors

    I for one welcome our new nano quadrotor overlords.

  26. rickl Says:

    The comments are great.

  27. CZ Says:

    From the looks of things Noot will never get his chance to go one-on-one with B.O. Not that I wouldn’t like to see it.

    OMG! 2012

  28. Mary Wilbur Says:

    This is a piece of Gingrich’s enormous ego. He isn’t going to get the chance to debate Obama.

  29. davisbr Says:

    rickl Says: February 1st, 2012 at 5:29 am
    Utterly off-topic, but I found this while I was looking for the Little Big Man clip:

    A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors

    I for one welcome our new nano quadrotor overlords.

    Yeah “OT” …but fascinating. And maybe quad-rotor overlords isn’t far off the mark.

    The video wasn’t clear whether that drone flight was either purely software (robotic) or remote+software controlled. And I wonder what the range is? 1 klick? 5 klicks?

    Anyways …the weaponization potential there is, umm, well: just think about it. Especially at the battlefield level.

    The cost of those things would be miniscule (even compared to the current drones). Targeting should be an utter no brainer (well, general line-of-sight, at least).

    Even at this point of development, just add some minor but sufficient amout of C4 and a detonator. Maybe a small ‘cam. Send a flight of these (enough so they can’t all be shot down …and targeting the things would be hard, regardless, due to their size) over an enemy troops know-but-inaccessible-to-fire position (even one that is otherwise pretty well shielded, say behind a revetment or plain ol’ wall). Upon arrival, reform the flight pattern overhead to some given explosion density factor …and detonate.

    Bad guy(s) all gone (or incapacitated to some degree …and casualties are almost always more of a liability to an enemy force than fatalities).

    Platoon level guided munitions on battlefields at a cost barely more than bullets. With an accuracy rate (kill rate) that reaches expert sniper level.

    Mosquito bomb drones.

    Oh my.

    Doesn’t this is sound almost immediately feasible?

  30. davisbr Says:

    Aargh: must.close.tags.

  31. Bronwyn Duwe Says:

    The absurd notion that liberals promote a “culture of victimizat­ion” is one of the clearest examples of right-wing projection I’ve ever witnessed. The ENTIRE conservati­ve movement is built on feeling sorry for themselves and claiming they’re the victims of nefarious forces (the “liberal media”, “liberal academia”, “liberal teacher’s unions”, “liberal PC culture”, “liberal secularist­s”, the “liberal ACLU, etc.) Noticing a pattern here? The left is far, far weaker than the right in America, and yet, they’ve built up this all-purpos­e liberal bogeyman / straw-man to blame all its failures on.

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