GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich this morning gave what might be his most fulsome explanation yet of why his staff walked out last week.
The former U.S. House speaker also ripped into ABC News, which on Tuesday reported of some questionable cash transfers between a Gingrich charity and one of his for-profit companies.
Gingrich declared the ABC report a “hit piece.”
“The elite media has correctly figured out that I am a direct threat to their Washington values, and their Washington power structure. And they’ve decided that since they can’t beat my message, they’ll just try to destroy the messenger,” Gingrich said.
The venue was the Neal Boortz radio show on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB. Listen to the entire exchange here.
A non-profit charity founded by Newt Gingrich to promote freedom, faith and free enterprise also served as another avenue to promote Gingrich’s political views, and came dangerously close, some experts say, to crossing a bright line that is supposed to separate tax-exempt charitable work from both the political process and such profit-making enterprises as books and DVDs.
The charity, Renewing American Leadership, not only featured Gingrich on its website and in fundraising letters, it also paid $220,000 over two years to one of Gingrich’s for-profit companies, Gingrich Communications. It purchased cases of Gingrich’s books and bought up copies of DVDs produced by another of the former House speaker’s entities, Gingrich Productions.
Said Gingrich to Boortz:
“It’s just a falsehood. Rev. Jim Garlow in San Diego, who’s the head of Renewing American Leadership, sent me a very despairing e-mail yesterday, and said the people at ABC wanted to do a hit piece on me, and even when he told them the truth, they said, ‘That doesn’t count.’”
When asked to explain the departure of most of his campaign staff, Gingrich even managed to include a plug for his book on American exceptionalism:
”A perfect example is the book that you just talked about, ‘A Nation Like No Other.’ And you, of course, have praised me for this over the years. I believe in big ideas. I’ve written more books than any other elected official since Theodore Roosevelt – except [the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick] Moynihan – and I think maybe I actually wrote more than Moynihan.
“I think ideas matter. I want to run a campaign based on ideas. The consultants wanted me to raise money to buy 30-second attack ads. I don’t want to attack anybody except Obama. I want to focus on the difference between American exceptionalism, low tax rates, entrepreneurship, the work ethic, local government, the Tenth Amendment returning power back home, and Obama’s secular European socialism.
“That frankly made the outside – and these were all outsider consultants except one person. We only lost one person who’d been with me before this started. Everybody else has stayed. It was grossly exaggerated what had happened, by a handful of outsiders who showed up, decided they didn’t like what I was doing, and I finally said to them, ‘Look, I can’t be your kind of normal, every-day, negative candidate. I’ve got to be a positive, idea-oriented person who reaches out at the grassroots to the American people.
“We were just incompatible.”
Gingrich will be in Atlanta next Wednesday, where he has promised to rip into Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider