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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Worst Presidential Launch Ever!

You have to wonder if Newt Gingrich wishes he’d just never bothered to run for president in the first place. The day after he announced, he spoke at the state Republican convention in his home-base of Georgia, and was upstaged by talk-show host Herman Cain (who is also from Georgia, but has spent twenty-one fewer years than Gingrich representing the state in Congress). Then on the eve of his first big tour of Iowa as a candidate, he went on Meet the Press and casually dissed Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal, which has earned him vast abuse from conservative opinion-leaders and Republicans generally (even those who undoubtedly agree in private with his assessment of RyanCare as a political non-starter). The gaffe even got him some personal grief from a loud Iowan who accosted him during a campaign swing and demanded he just get out of the race.
And now Jake Sherman of Politico did some inspired digging through the financial disclosure forms that Callista Gingrich was required to file as a highly paid House employee up until 2007, and discovered that Newt owed somewhere between a quarter and a half million dollars to Tiffany and Company as recently as 2006. Considering that the same forms showed the Gingriches as having total assets valued at somewhere between one and two-and-a-half million dollars at the time, that’s some pretty serious jewelry debt for such debt-conscious times.
You can imagine what the late-night comics will do with this story. I mean, the jokes just write themselves. Did Newt exceed his Tiffany’s Debt Limit? Is he still paying on all three engagement rings? How many jobs did he produce at Tiffany’s? Would a tax cut help him grow out of debt? Does he really just like eating breakfast at Tiffany’s? Ba-da-bing, ba-da- boom.
I’ve never been that high on Newt’s chances of becoming the 45th President of the United States. But if he can overcome this campaign launch, he deserves some real respect as a survivor.

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