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Has Newt Gingrich been on TV too long to get elected?

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Douglas Graham / Congressional Quarterly / Newscom / File

(Read caption) In this 1998 file photo, then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich sits with a Tyrannosaurus rex skull, on loan from the Smithsonian, in his office at the US Capitol.

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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was on “Meet the Press” Sunday and said a lot of things that have sparked media coverage of the visit.

For instance, he noted that he’s opposed to GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s big proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher-like program – “too big a jump,” in Mr. Gingrich’s view.

He sounded like he sort of favors the provision in President Obama’s health care reforms requiring people to have health insurance – the so-called “individual mandate,” which many other Republicans oppose.

And he delivered the type of big-think quote for which he is famous: “We are at a crossroads in our core values as a country – what does it mean to be an American?” he told host David Gregory.

But as to his future in the upcoming presidential primaries, the most important thing uttered on the program may have been a simple, two-digit number. In welcoming Gingrich at the top of the show, Mr. Gregory noted that it was the former House Speaker’s 35th appearance on “Meet the Press.”

And that is one of the ex-Georgia lawmaker’s biggest electoral problems. He’s been arguing on news shows for so long that he is hardly a fresh face. He was first elected to Congress in 1980 – six years before the Fox Network, and Fox News, even went on the air.

Will voters see him as the same old, same old? That has yet to be determined. But one thing is certain: there is lots of video of him saying lots of stuff over many years, and right now production assistants for every major news show are combing through that archive, looking for trouble. Trouble for Newt, that is.


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