Just prior to the commercial break preceding this interview, John King touts it as a "rare CNN conversation with the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who would like to replace President Obama in 2012." Apparently all of the potential 2012
February 7, 2011

Just prior to the commercial break preceding this interview, John King touts it as a "rare CNN conversation with the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who would like to replace President Obama in 2012." Apparently all of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates who are working for Uncle Rupert aren't supposed to be giving interviews to CNN anchors. I just wonder when they're finally going to get off of his payroll if they're actually going to run.

King seemed terribly excited to have a chance to pretend like anyone should be taking Gingrich seriously as a presidential candidate in 2012. He also allowed him to get in plenty of shots at President Obama, pretend like the Republican Party cares about the unemployed and the poor, and of course throw in some good old fearmongering about the scary Muslims that want to kill us all to boot. We could have just as easily been watching him in one of his countless interviews on Fox where those appearances are anything but "rare."

KING: When it comes to covering the early maneuverings of the 2012 presidential race, we at CNN have what I'll call the FOX problem, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich all possible candidates, all contractual contributors to FOX News, so they're not supposed to sit down for interviews with CNN. So when I was out at the Reagan's Centennial yesterday in Simi Valley, California and I saw the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, I jumped at the opportunity to sneak in a few questions about whether he's going to run.


KING: You have been a leader of the Republican Party as the speaker of course, but there are many who think right now your goal is to become the leader of the Republican Party as its presidential nominee. Is there a Reagan lesson in this for you go about this?

GINGRICH: Yes, to be very patient and tell you cheerfully, Callista and I will make a decision at the end of February, and that -- and march to your own drummer. I mean, to realize that you need to do -- Reagan did what he believed in when he thought it was right. He ran against Gerry Ford and lost very narrowly. He came back at a time when many people thought he was too old, and he ran a campaign his way. He made a mistake frankly of not campaigning in Iowa more, came back in New Hampshire, but it was a long campaign. George H.W. Bush gave him a real race for the nomination.

KING: You could look at your race or your thought process two ways. You could say here's a guy. He's a provocative guy. He's an ideas guy. He's a known entity, so when it comes to the fundraising part, you probably have a good advantage over many, if not all of the others out there. Others would say wait, does the Republican Party want to go back? Newt Gingrich was a fairly polarizing figure, was involved in some pretty polarizing debates at the time. Does that -- how does that weigh in when you're traveling and talk to people?

GINGRICH: I think we're as a country in real trouble. I think we have had the longest period of over nine percent unemployment since the Great Depression. The news last month that we have 45 percent African-American teenage unemployment should sober every American. We have real dangers in the world. The fact that 126 people have been indicted in the U.S. for plotting terrorism in the last two years, what's going on in Egypt, Afghanistan, none of this should make us feel good, and I think having somebody who tells the truth -- you know, sometimes telling the truth is polarizing.

Camus wrote that a man who says two plus two equals four can sometimes be killed because they authorities can't understand the truth. And sometimes -- what Reagan did -- and I frankly tried to study Reagan and Thatcher and Lincoln because I think they were the great truth tellers of modern politics. Sometimes when you tell the truth, people in the establishment go nuts because it's not the truth they want to hear.

KING: I'm going to ask you lastly, this is a place that just evokes presidential leadership, it makes you think about big decisions. The president of the United States now is involved in one probably of the greatest foreign policy crises, watching what happens in Egypt and the potential domino effect in the Middle East. Governor Palin last night said it was his 3:00 a.m. phone call and it went to the answering machine. Do you agree with that?

GINGRICH: Look, I think the fact that they appointed a very able diplomat, Frank Wisner, and within two days, we're publicly contradicting him, is, you know, it's so amateurish. I was with John Bolton last night, he said it's inconceivable that they would be this clumsy and this out of sync with -- I mean, just with themselves, forget the Arab world. They can't even get the White House and their special envoy to be on the same page.

I am very concerned. We want to help the people of Egypt achieve democracy, and I'm very concerned that -- Secretary Clinton apparently said that we wanted to reach out to the Muslim Brotherhood. I think this is absolute, total misreading of history. The Muslim Brotherhood is a mortal enemy of our civilization. They say so openly. Their slogan says so openly. Their way is jihad, their method is death. For us to encourage in any way the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood is fundamentally wrong.

And I think that what we want to do is walk a narrow line between -- we don't want to betray somebody who's been with us for 30 years as an ally. We do recognize his time may well have gone. We want to treat him with dignity, because he stood by us in very tough times. We want to help the Egyptian people achieve self-government, but we want to isolate and minimize the risk of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This administration, I think, does not have a clue about those realities.

KING: Mr. Speaker, thanks for your time.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

KING: Pleasure.


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