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Is there really 'something' about Gingrich?

January 25, 2012 | 12:37 pm

Newt Gingrich in Florida

Serves me right, really, for trying to get my news by just scanning headlines.

There it was on The Times' homepage Wednesday: "Pelosi, Gingrich trade shots again."

Wow, I thought: So the two former House speakers have been throwing back Jägermeister?

Maybe Newt Gingrich is a miracle worker. I mean, I know he appeared with Pelosi in a 2008 ad in which they urged action on global warming. But who knew they were drinking buddies?

Uh, no. Turns out Pelosi was asked about Gingrich's presidential prospects in an interview this week with CNN's John King. Her response: 

"He's not going to be president of the United States," Pelosi said. "This is -- that's not going to happen. Let me just make my prediction and stand by it. It isn't going to happen."

Asked how she could be so sure, Pelosi said: "There's something I know."

Naturally, inquiring minds wanted to know what that "something" was. Including Gingrich:

"Who knows? Who knows?" Gingrich chuckled [when asked about the Democratic leader’s suggestion by NBC’s Ann Curry on Wednesday]. “She lives in a San Francisco environment of very strange fantasies and very strange understandings of reality. I have no idea what’s in Nancy Pelosi’s head. If she knows something, I have a simple challenge: Spit it out; tell us what it is. I have no idea what she’s talking about."

And then Pelosi's office, asked to clarify, pointed reporters to the four-part House ethics report on the former speaker.

Aw, c'mon, congresswoman. You imply there's a "January surprise" or somesuch coming, and that's all you've got?

It's fine for TMZ to tease, but ... 

Seriously, there are plenty of reasons to not vote for Gingrich. But as Jonah Goldberg argued in Tuesday's Opinion pages,  "conventional weapons are useless against Newtzilla …. Everything bad about Gingrich -- the flip-flops, the wives, the ego -- is known. Once voters have convinced themselves they can overlook that stuff, it's hard to change their minds simply by repeating it."

And in a massive upset, I find myself agreeing with Goldberg.

I'm still not convinced that Gingrich will be the nominee, nor do I think he could beat President Obama. But a musty old ethics report certainly won't do him in.

And the 24-hour news cycle that makes stories out of comments like Pelosi's isn't doing us any favors either.

As for me, I'm going back to scanning headlines. Hey, how about that "Headless body in topless bar" update?

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-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich at a campaign event with his wife, Callista, in Naples, Fla. Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

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