Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Newt Gingrich Runs Against the Moderators

Give Newt Gingrich credit: he knows what Republican voters like. Rather than get sucked into the intraparty squabbles that are a mainstay of primary debates, time and again the former House Speaker made the media moderators the enemy — to the delight of GOP crowds. "I'm frankly not interested in your effort to get Republicans fighting each other," he scolded Politico's John Harris at a Sept. 7 debate. "It's sad that the news media doesn't report accurately how the economy works," he complained at a Nov. 9 forum. When CNBC's Maria Bartiromo asked him to clarify what was inaccurate, he couldn't contain his scorn: "What? I love humor disguised as a question, that's terrific." But it all started at an Aug. 11 debate, when a question from Fox's Chris Wallace launched Gingrich into a tirade about "gotcha questions" and "Mickey Mouse games." His serial know-it-all act can come across as condescension, but his media-critic schtick has proved primary gold. Gingrich seems to climb in the polls after every testy exchange.