HOUSE SQUEAKER

GINGRICH WORKED THE PHONE HARD TO SAVE HIS JOB, BUT NO MATTER WHAT THE OUTCOME OF THE VOTE FOR SPEAKER, HIS INFLUENCE IS ALREADY GREATLY DIMINISHED

When the history of Newt Gingrich's ethical predicaments is written, one of the better ironies will be that the struggle to decide the Speaker's fate gave rise to--what else?--a whole new ethical funk. No matter what its outcome, the vote on whether Gingrich remains as Speaker of the House will reverberate through the work of the next Congress and its balance of terror between Republicans and Democrats. But before that, Newt's delicate condition and the ways in which his party rushed to his rescue will offer a priceless view of just how badly Washington handles ethical screw-ups. Even when everybody knows...

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