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  The Newt I know
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ContributorCraverguy 
Last EditedCraverguy  Jan 28, 2012 10:17pm
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CategoryOp-Ed by Candidate
AuthorJoe Scarborough
News DateSaturday, January 28, 2012 08:05:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionYeah, yeah. I know. Newt Gingrich had a lousy week and will probably lose the Florida primary on Tuesday. But for those tempted to once again predict the speedy collapse of his campaign, consider yourselves forewarned. I’ve known this guy long enough to realize that the only three species destined to survive a nuclear holocaust will be cockroaches, Cher, and Newton Leroy Gingrich.

I first met Gingrich 17 years ago at a Destin, Fla., fundraiser held in my honor a few weeks after Newt declared that I was too conservative to win the general election. But after I won the primary against the moderate woman he anointed, there he was in Florida looking supremely bored and a little put out that he was having to sit through another politician’s speech.

In the ensuing years, I found the mercurial maverick to be inspiring and maddening, disciplined and self-indulgent, forward thinking and short-sighted, gifted and dumb — sometimes all within the same hour.

If, as Shakespeare wrote, what’s past is prologue — and it often is — then Gingrich’s political history is particularly relevant now. It’s a history I know well because I was there. And what I saw at the revolution has concerned me since I left Washington.

Many who have heard my harsh assessments of Gingrich over the past year have assumed that I feel a personal animus toward my former colleague. That’s just not true. That fact is that I remain awestruck that Newt envisioned a Republican majority when his closest allies thought he was crazy. Even an eternal optimist like me laughed at the “Think Majority” sign hanging over the NRCC reception area in early 1994.

But Newt was right and we were wrong. The Gingrich Revolution overtook Washington (with a huge assist from Bill Clinton’s overreaching agenda) and good things followed. Within a few years, Congress passed the first balanced budget in a generation, welfare reform, tax cuts, and meaningful congressional changes.

If Newt’s stor
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