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The Big Story Gets A Big “Exclusive”

Reported by Chrish - September 30, 2007 -

NOTE: Guest blogged by Priscilla

Julie Banderas scored a “Big Story Exclusive” with her interview of Newt Gingrich, who announced right there on her show that he was not going to run for president. (Comment: loud sobbing heard across the heartland) Banderas noted that “for months many GOP faithful were hoping that Newt Gingrich would throw his hat into the ring and today he’s making it official that he will not be seeking the presidential primary.” She added that a lot of viewers will be “very disappointed.” (Comment: Awww…)

Gingrich explained that he and Randy Evans (whose function Gingrich did not explain, but who is a lawyer who represented Gingrich when an ethics complaint was made against him while he was in the House of Representatives) learned that under McCain/Feingold, Gingrich’s organization “American Solutions” would be “isolated” from any of Gingrich’s activities and the “penalties are criminal.” According to Gingrich, the McCain/Feingold “'censorship and anti-citizenship act’ punishes you with criminal sanctions if you were to remain associated with any activity like this.” (Comment: As Banderas didn’t ask him to elaborate on this, we are left with the question of why this seemingly heinous bi-partisan legislation is still on the books – but poor Newt.) Gingrich claimed that he and Evans realized at 11AM Saturday morning, that it would be totally irresponsible for Gingrich to leave his “terrific” new organization and better that he stay with American Solutions so that he can work on new ideas for health, the environment, immigration, and advise all elected officials about these matters "on a bi-partisan basis.” He added that it was “a very frustrating decision.” (Comment: poor Newt)

Banderas framed her next question with praise when she said that Gingrich is a “man who loves his country” and has “big ideas” and then asked if there is another candidate “whose ideas could match” Gingrich’s and whether he could endorse this candidate. Gingrich ducked the question and replied that “anyone who wants to support us can go to American Solutions.” He then asserted that McCain/Feingold is so anti-middle class that if you’re a middle class candidate you get to raise $2300/person and if you’re rich you can write a $100 million personal check.” Once again, he said that he “wasn’t prepared to abandon American Solutions, whose ideas he hoped “other candidates would look at and become champions of.” Advice will be offered, according to Gingrich, to candidates from both parties.

Banderas asked what Gingrich thought about the other candidates and whether “they are in jeopardy on what you might see as a losing path” to which he replied that if Republicans don’t “stay out of the shadow of the Republican record in Washington, their chances of winning are very slim.” He also stated that the candidates need to “get out of the tired fund raising cycle” and praised Barack Obama’s “remarkable achievement” in being able to raise more money than all the Republican candidates.

In responding to Banderas' question about a NYTimes article which said that without raising $30 million, a Gingrich candidacy would be impossible, he said that there are “high standards and if you’re going to get in a race with Romney, who can write a $100 million personal check, you’d better have at least some resources to be competitive. (Comment: poor Newt). And in case you didn’t get it the first couple of times, Gingrich said “the effect of the McCain/Feingold “censorship” act has been to weaken the middle class and made it more difficult to be a middle class candidate because it makes it harder to raise money.” (Comment: poor Newt)

Gingrich refused to endorse any of the Republican candidates and concluded by saying that he will be “glad to come back on Fox and be an analyst.” He also ruled out the possibility of accepting a position as a vice-presidential candidate.

Comment: Gingrich’s big announcement seemed laden with sour grapes. He didn’t really explain how separating himself from American Solutions would impact on his ability to raise money which seems to be the crux of the issue. It would have been helpful if Banderas had done a follow-up with some Fox political analyst regarding the specific provision in McCain/Feingold that impacted on Gingrich’s decision. But that was the biggest story of the hour as it was followed by the usual tabloid material and nothing about either the MoveOn ad (has it run its shelf life?) or Rush Limbaugh.

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla