The Quotable Newt Gingrich

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Democrats may be taking Newt seriously as a potential nominee. But boy will he spend a lot of time on the defensive in the weeks and perhaps months to come. Alex Massie flags just one vivid example of why this is the case: a 2008 talk in which Gingrich warns that the Bush administration’s success in preventing a 9/11 repeat is breeding complacency, and that “it’s almost like they should every once in a while have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us” of the danger America faces from terrorism. Oy!

Okay, clearly Newt was being cheeky here. “Almost” was a crucial hedge. The audience laughed, and in the video below you see that he appears to grin. But boy is that ever a dangerous subject to discuss in such glib terms. Which raises a larger point about the threat Newt’s own words pose to his political survival. We already know of many, many problematic Newtisms dating back to his days as House Speaker and before. This jarring clip makes me wonder just how many more whoppers from his countless Fox News appearances and various promotional events from recent years await discovery and packaging into campaign ads. My bet is there’s one for nearly every day remaining in the primaries, and that more than one Romney campaign staffer is working full-time on this project even as I type. There’s a reason someone wrote an entire book entitled Tell Newt to Shut Up, after all.