Newt Gingrich sat down with the Des Moines Register editorial board this week to discuss his new book To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular Socialist Machine. Right at the start of the interview, a Register editor asked if Gingrich thinks “voters are stupid since they elected President Obama in 2008.” The former Speaker walked back the entire premise of his book. “The whole question of the scale of change has nothing to do with Obama,” he said.
Later in the hour-long interview, Gingrich backtracked even further. “I’m not here saying Obama is the bad guy and if he wasn’t there things would be good.” Soon after, the Register editor called Gingrich out:
DMR EDITOR: I was really taken aback by something you just said, in that “I”m not here saying Obama is the bad guy.” In your book you say, “The President’s secular socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.” That sure sounds like you think he’s a bad guy with bad ideas.
Gingrich again tried to distance himself from the fiery rhetoric in his book, simply saying that the “secular socialist machine” is taking over “traditional America” without linking Obama to it.
At the end of the interview, the Register editor told Gingrich that the conversation with him had been quite reasonable, which she noted didn’t seem to square with the rhetoric in his book, calling it, in parts, “offensive” and “really over the top”:
DMR EDITOR: Do you see part of your role in writing this book and touring the country and speaking is helping Americans find a consensus on some of these crucial issues we have to address…or do you see it as to rabble-rouse because this conversation has been very reasonable and interesting, [but] this book is really over the top in places. …Some of the rhetoric is really offensive and it’s just it doesn’t quite fit with the conversation in this room so what is your role?
Again, Gingrich dodged the question. “I’m trying to say is that we’re at a genuine crossroads and it involves choices,” he said, later adding, “My real job is not to figure out how to find a common ground with the left.” Watch it:
Aside from the title of his book and the contents within, less than two weeks ago, Gingrich was indeed saying Obama is the bad guy. “’The secular socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.’ Mr. Speaker, respectfully, isn’t that wildly over the top?” Fox host Chris Wallace asked. Gingrich replied, “No. … Just listen to President Obama’s language. He gets to decide who earns how much. He gets to decide when it’s too much.”