I would really love to spend six months to a year in the Amazon basin, just being able to spend the day watching tree sloths.Newt Gingrich • In a 1995 Vanity Fair profile. There are lots of fun tidbits in this piece. Even back then, Gingrich was thinking of a presidential run, but his then-wife Marrianne didn’t approve. “I don’t want him to be president,” she said, “and I don’t think he should be” (he eventually divorced her). Newt often describes himself oddly journalistic terms, as if he’s a pundit writing an op-ed column, and this was true in 1995 as well. He says here that he’s “a mythical person,” “a psychodrama living out a fantasy,” and that “what makes me unusually intense is that I personalize the pain of war, the pain of children being killed.” source (via • follow)
» What’s going on here? Actually, we’re not sure. Common wisdom says that Cain’s support flocked to Gingrich after the former dropped out of the race (or, sorry, “suspended” his campaign). So how come the same University of Iowa poll—taken in the state over a weeklong period—shows a drastic fall in the former House Speaker’s support after Cain’s exit? Of course, the standard “this is just one poll” disclaimer still applies; this could just be an anomaly. But a 13.3% decline in one week is significant, and outside the poll’s margin of error. Given the boom-bust tendency of the GOP field this year, we can’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Newt (note: it’s rather unusual for a polling house to make available the intra-week trends of a single poll; much respect to Reuters, who co-sponsored this poll, for doing so).
» Bipartisan support: For twelve years, Pelosi and Gingrich served together in the House of Representatives, and supported a total of 418 bills together. That’s an average of 34.83 pieces of legislation per year that enjoyed Pelosi/Gingrich support (at least, that’s what our team of math experts tells us; we didn’t have time to check their work). One such bill was the Global Warming Prevention act of 1989, the memory of which probably won’t do Gingrich any favors in the Republican primary (relatedly, neither will this). It should be noted, however, that much of this was non-contentious legislation, such as one honoring the 50th anniversary of the National Heart, Lung and Blood instituted.
» The point here isn’t that Gingrich won’t win. It’s that that attempting to predict election results based on polls is tricky, and remains tricky even when you factor in historical precedent. To drive the point home even further: Ronald Reagan led in Iowa polls by about 9 points a month prior to the caucuses. He ended up losing (to his future VP, George H.W. Bush), but then ultimately came back to win the nomination, making his Iowa loss more or less irrelevant. Every election has its own quirks and nuances; Gingrich is looking good in Iowa right now, no doubt, but so was Herman Cain before him, and Rick Perry before him, and Michele Bachmann before him.