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Newt Gingrich on Barack Obama’s association problems, John McCain’s Veep choice, and real solutions to energy policy

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

HH: Joined now by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich. His brand new book, Days Of Infamy, is shooting up all sorts of best-seller lists across the United States. Speaker Gingrich, welcome back, Days of Infamy, I have to assume, is about Pearl Harbor?

NG: Yeah, Days of Infamy is our follow up. Last year, we published a novel called Pearl Harbor, in which we developed what we call active history, which is a process where we look at a particular event, and we look for one change which could have been done, which could have been real, but which would have had a big impact. And in the case of Pearl Harbor, we had the Japanese swap Admiral Nagumo, who was timid, where Admiral Yamamoto, who was very aggressive and understood air power, and showed what a dramatic difference it would have made in the Pearl Harbor attack. And then in Days of Infamy, we follow up on that, and we show that with an aggressive air power-oriented admiral, the Japanese would have been in a position after Pearl Harbor to hunt for the American aircraft carriers, and that given the personality of Admiral Bill Halsey, who was the commander of the USS Enterprise, he was hunting the Japanese. And so you would have had a swirling naval battle in 1941.

HH: Was John McCain’s grandfather already part of Halsey’s task force at that point? Or did he arrive later, Speaker Gingrich? Do you know?

NG: I think he arrived later, but I honestly don’t know. It’s something worth our checking into for Volume 3, which will be coming along soon.

HH: That’ll be very interesting. Well, congratulations on that. I want to talk politics with you. We’re living in active history right now. Let me play for you first one of the most amazing little introductions I’ve ever heard from CNN yesterday morning, as Barack Obama appears with John Roberts. Listen to this:

JR: Senator, it’s good to see you this morning.

BO: Great to talk to you, John.

JR: I want to just stipulate at the beginning of this interview. We are declaring a Reverend Wright-free zone today. So no questions about Reverend Wright. Our viewer want us to move on, so this morning, we’re going to move on. Is that okay with you?

HH: Speaker Gingrich, that actually happened this morning, not yesterday morning. Is that astonishing or what?

NG: Well, it tells you a lot about CNN’s biases. I think CNN would like to see Obama become the next president. I think they’re very worried that John McCain may become the next president. And I think they’re just showing you how deeply biased they are.

HH: Did you ever, in your long career…

NG: By the way, by the way, it’s a very interesting contrast to all of the questions that in a dignified, polite way, but nonetheless firmly, that last week, Bill O’Reilly asked Hillary Clinton in two evenings. I mean, you have a remarkable difference between his putting her through the paces and that kind of positive chit-chat on the part of CNN.

HH: I agree with that. Did you ever get such a pass in your long and often controversial career from any network, much less CNN?

NG: Not that I remember. I think C-SPAN was pretty nice to me.

HH: Let me ask you…

NG: Yeah, but look, if you go back and look at the coverage we got, you have to start with the understanding, over 90% of the elite reporters are liberals.

HH: Right.

NG: I happen…in 2004, I happened to have lunch with about twenty national news media types, all of whom were confident John Kerry was going to win, all of whom were excited by the upcoming Kerry administration. And they were very, they were very committed, and they were shocked as the day went on, and their dreams faded away, and they were faced with the cold reality that America had re-elected George W. Bush. And for me, that was one of the most revealing senses of just how far to the left the elite media is.

HH: And continues to go further left, I think. Now Mr. Speaker, there’s over at, I’ve posted a picture today of William Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist, as John McCain calls him, and friend of Barack Obama’s, board member, colleague of Barack Obama’s, wiping his feet on an American flag from 2001. Does the Ayers connection to Obama matter?

NG: I think the Ayers connection is going to become the next Obama story, because nobody has really dug in yet to the way in which the foundation that he and Obama were on, where did the money go, who did they give it to, what do the grant applications say they were going to do with the money. You know, Ayers is an unrepentant revolutionary who is a professor of education. And he recently was elected to being an officer in a National Association of Educators, who have some 35,000 members. And he is explicitly, publicly committed to teaching teachers to use the public classroom as a revolutionary training ground, not to teach English, not to teach math, not to teach science, but to teach their children revolutionary viewpoints about America. So Ayers is a hard-line left-winger, fully as much as Reverend Wright is. And nobody has truly dug into this foundation that both Ayers and Obama were on the board of, which gave away a lot of money to very left-wing groups.

HH: It’ll be interesting to see if that is provoked by the publication of this picture, because a picture is worth a thousand editorials, and watching Ayers wipe his feet on that, Radio Pundit, hat’s off to you. Now Mr. Speaker, let’s turn to the Republican side. A lot of talk of Bobby Jindal being a vice presidential nominee, along with John McCain, the governor of Louisiana, very bright, but 36 years old, and just elected. What do you think of that speculation?

NG: Well, I’m a big fan of Bobby Jindal. I think he’s a future presidential candidate. I think he is one of the brightest people of either party. I think his story, his parents coming from India, his rise at a very early age in health policy, to the degree to which he’s just remarkably intelligent, remarkably competent, I think that Bobby Jindal could do almost anything. I just met with him this week, and I can’t tell you how impressed I am with what he’s already achieved in Louisiana. But I think that’s up to John McCain. I think that would certainly be a quality nominee that would speak of real change. And I think that McCain has to be the candidate of real change for him to have any hope of winning this fall. I think you cannot win the election in this environment with public opinion in its current mood without being a candidate of real change.

HH: Now can I ping you a little bit, Mr. Speaker? You made the ad with Nancy Pelosi, and I think that campaign is asking Americans to suspend critical thinking, not that I’m on one side or the other.

NG: Well…

HH: I just think thirty second ads on something that complicated asks…it’s not the way to debate this, because it almost makes it impregnable to debate. Did you consider the downside of doing the ad with her?

NG: Yeah, we spent six weeks thinking about that decision, and I do a newsletter every week. You can go to, my first name, and sign up for it. It comes out for free. Over 700,000 people get it. And next week will be on energy policy and environmental policy. And I’m going to outline a stunningly different view than Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. But my message to conservatives is you’ve got to get on the stage and debate. You can’t stand off-stage and scream no. And I’m perfectly happy, if you’ll look at the ad carefully, we said this was a topic we disagree on a lot of issue. But we agree we should try to solve this. And I’m perfectly happy to offer real solutions, and I’ll give you one example.

HH: Go ahead.

NG: If the United States produced the same percent of electricity from nuclear power as France, we would take two billion, two hundred million tons of carbon a year out of the atmosphere. And by that one step, we would be 15% better than the Kyoto goals.

HH: Well said. Speaker Newt Gingrich, thanks, the new book is Days Of Infamy. It’s part two in the series. We look forward to talking to you again, Newt Gingrich.

End of interview.

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