In an August, 30, Today Show interview, former Speaker of the House and American Solutions For Winning The Future mastermind Newt Gingrich (R-GA) praised the “courage” and “experience” of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), whom Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had announced as his running mate. Newt claimed:
Interestingly, she’s the first journalist ever to be nominated, I think, for the president or vice president. She was a sportscaster on local television, so she has a lot of interesting background.
Gingrich, a Ph. D. historian, should know that claim is laughably false. There have been at least two presidents and two vice presidents who were professional journalists before being elected to office, most recently Vice President Al Gore:
Albert Gore, Jr. 45th U.S. Vice President (1993-2000), and Democratic nominee for president, 2000. Gore served as an Army journalist at Fort Rucker and in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971 and became an investigative reporter for the Tennesseean upon his return. [Biography.com]
Warren G. Harding 29th U.S. President (1921-1923). Harding was the publisher and editor of the Marion Daily Star (Ohio), before entering political office. [Grolier]
William Howard Taft 27th U.S. President (1909-1912). Taft worked briefly as a legal reporter with the Cincinnati Times and the Cincinnati Commercial. [Encyclopedia Britannica]
Charles W. Fairbanks 26th U.S. Vice President (1905-1908). Fairbanks co-edited The Western Collegian at Ohio Wesleyan University and worked for the Associated Press in Pittsburgh after graduation. [1904 Republican National Convention]
This was, of course, a much smaller confabulation by Newt Gingrich than those of his billionaire-funded “Drill Here, Drill Now” 527 campaign to place American energy policy deeper in the clutches of Exxon Mobil.
(HT: Richard Cohen)
UPDATE: Gingrich repeated the false talking point on Fox News the same day, without any equivocation:
She didn’t go to an elite school, she’s not from Princeton or Harvard or Yale, she went to the University of Idaho. On the other hand, she’s the first journalist ever to be named to a national ticket. I think, as a journalism major, she’s going to raise some very interesting questions for a lot of reporters.