Gin­grich’s view

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

The 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is like a re­al­ity show, for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich says.

“There are a lot of smart peo­ple who are run­ning very hard,” said Mr. Gin­grich, who is con­sid­er­ing get­ting into the race. “But they have al­lowed them­selves to be talked into a con­sul­tant-driven model, which is the equiv­a­lent — it’s a mix­ture of ‘ Amer­i­can Idol,’ ‘The Bach­e­lor’ and ‘Sur­vivor.’ ”

Mr. Gin­grich, ap­pear­ing on CBS’ “Face the Na­tion,” said re­cent can­di­date de­bates “were lu­di­crous.”

“In the de­bate the other night, the Repub­li­cans av­er­aged seven min­utes and 20 sec­onds apiece, split up into 25-to-30-sec­ond an­swers,” he said. “The television celebri­ties dom­i­nate th­ese things. They cut peo­ple off. They treat them with dis­re­spect.

“The po­ten­tial pres­i­dent of the United States, the most pow­er­ful gov­ern­ing of­fice in the world, shrinks with each ap­pear­ance in th­ese shows, and we don’t have a na­tional dis­cus­sion.”

Mr. Gin­grich has been ar­gu­ing for a dif­fer­ent style of de­bat­ing than the rules, time lim­its and mod­er­a­tor that come with tra­di­tional pres­i­den­tial de­bates, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

“Whoever the two nom­i­nees are, they should agree in ad­vance to 90minute di­a­logue — time­keeper, but no mod­er­a­tor — 90 min­utes a week, for nine weeks, from La­bor Day to the elec­tion. Let the Amer­i­can peo­ple have in their liv­ing room a chance to see two adults.” or­gan trans­plants into a dis­cus­sion of il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, re­ports Eric Pfeif­fer of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

“Well, I didn’t get a chance, frankly, to break through on al­most any­thing. In the first 45 min­utes of a 90-minute de­bate, I had one ques­tion, and it had noth­ing, ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion,” the Colorado Repub­li­can said when asked by ABC’s “This Week” why his sig­na­ture is­sue didn’t “break through” dur­ing the de­bate two weeks ago.

“I know ev­ery­body tries their best to avoid the ques­tions they’re asked, and an­swer the ques­tion that they want to be asked. But, you know, I find that dif­fi­cult. If some­body asks me a ques­tion about — in this case, it was, I don’t know, or­gan trans­plants or some­thing,” he said.

Mr. Tan­credo wasn’t the only one un­happy with the de­bate for­mat.

“The big pic­ture was that Chris Matthews was a ter­ri­ble mod­er­a­tor,” Weekly Stan­dard ed­i­tor William Kristol said dur­ing the “Fox News Sun­day” round ta­ble. “MSNBC did a ter­ri­ble job.”

The con­ser­va­tive pun­dit ap­peared at first to be jok­ing with his col­leagues about an up­com­ing de­bate hosted by Fox News, but then added, “The can­di­dates kept their dig­nity and gave rea­son­able an­swers, and the me­dia ques­tions were ridicu­lous and sort of rude.”

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Tom Tan­credo said he found it im­pos­si­ble to turn a de­bate ques­tion on or­gan trans­plants into an an­swer on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

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