POLITICS

Morning Examiner: The Gingrich distraction

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

There is only one story all conservatives should be talking about today: President Obama’s decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. Like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, they should be contrasting Obama’s opposition to profitable, privately funded infrastructure, with his unequivocal support for taxpayer funded boondoggles like Solyndra and high-speed rail.

Instead, we are going to be talking about one of Newt Gingrich’s ex-wives, who gave a devastating interview to ABC News earlier this week, which they reportedly will air tonight. This is not a case of a liberal media attacking a good conservative. As former Reps. Susan Molinari, R-N.Y., and Jim Talent, R-Mo., testify in two new webvideos, this incident is completely consistent with Gingrich’s past behavior.

In his video, Talent tells the camera, “I served in the House with Newt Gingrich. He would make outrageous comments that would blind-side us and undermine our conservative agenda. Chaotic decisions, erratic behavior, its a problem when your own leader is the biggest political problem that you are dealing with, which is why we removed him as Speaker.”

Molinari adds: “Newt Gingrich had a leadership style that can only be described as leadership by chaos. … The last time Newt Gingrich was the head of the Republican party, he became so controversial he helped re-elect a Democratic president.”

Newt has run an unorganized, often inept, chaotic, scatter-shot campaign. Yes, he is good in debates. That is why both the NBC News/Marist (Romney +10) and Politico (Romney +7) polls show him closing in on Mitt Romney after Monday’s event. But Newt will never get as many chances to debate Obama as he has had to debate Romney. Gingrich has pledged to follow Obama around the country demanding debates, but that will backfire on him. Obama will refuse, Gingrich will whine, and he’ll be portrayed as a pathetic whining puppy dog (does anybody remember his whining in the “back-of-Air-Force-One incident?).

Obama is already up with millions in general election ads attacking Republicans for being close to “secretive oil billionaires.” Continuing to entertain the sideshow that is Newt Gingrich is not a distraction conservatives can afford.

Campaign 2012
Iowa: The Iowa Republican Party is officially calling the Iowa caucuses “a split decision” after a new count of votes shows Rick Santorum ahead of Mitt Romney by 34 votes. But the party could not certify results from 8 precincts, so Santorum cannot claim he won the contests.

South Carolina: The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney reports that there is no such thing as an “evangelical voter,” noting that at at least 70 percent of evangelical Christians in South Carolina will vote for either a Mormon or a Catholic this Saturday.

Romney: The Washington Examiner‘s Phil Klein notes that a slew of bad stories for Mitt Romney (including his debate flub on releasing his tax returns, his calling $375,000 in speaker fees “not very much” money, and news that he has millions invested in the Cayman islands) will make it easier for President Obama to wage class warfare against him. And The Editors of National Review have issued a an editorial calling on Romney to release his tax returns now.

Gingrich: Newt Gingrich, who has attacked Mitt Romney for his tenure at Bain Capital, was paid more than $60,000 two years ago for a speech that praised the private-equity industry.

Obama: A new CBS News/New York Times poll shows “a majority of independent voters have soured on his presidency, disapprove of how he has dealt with the economy and do not have a clear idea of what he hopes to accomplish if re-elected.” And The Washington Post reports that Obama will follow his State of the Union with a battleground state tour including Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, and Michigan.

Around the Bigs
The Washington Examiner, Obama rejects Keystone pipeline, ignites GOP fight: President Obama rejected TransCanada’s application for a permit to spend $7 billion building a oil pipeline that would have employed thousands of Americans and diversified America’s energy supplies. “There is no other way to put it,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “The president is selling out American jobs for politics.”

The Wall Street Journal, Kodak Files for Bankruptcy Protection: Eastman Kodak Co., a 131-year old company, filed for bankruptcy this morning in New York.

The Los Angeles Times, Brown Asks California to Cheer Rail Project: In his State of the State speech Wednesday, California Gov. Jerry Brown doubled-down on his support for the state’s faltering $100 billion high-speed rail project.

USA Today, Foreign holdings of Treasuries hits record high: Total foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury debt rose 1.7% in November to $4.75 trillion, a record high.

Righty Playbook
The Wall Street Journal‘s Daniel Henninger writes, “Not only did Bain Capital save America, but no matter what turn Mitt Romney’s political career takes, Bain Capital may stand as the best of Mr. Romney’s lifetime contributions to the nation’s economic well-being. If only he’d tell the story.”

RedState‘s Erick Erickson calls on Rick Perry to drop out and endorse Newt Gingrich before the South Carolina GOP primary voting on Saturday.

The Weekly Standard‘s Jay Cost notes that Obama’s recent rise in the polls is due almost entirely to Democrats responding positively to his class warfare rhetoric.

Lefty Playbook
Talking Points Memo explains how the left will blame the end of Keystone on Republicans.

Think Progress looks at who is lobbying for the Protect IP Act.

Paul Krugman posts a chart showing that the capital gains tax rate has always been higher than 15%.

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