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Newt Gingrich's biggest problem: too many words, or too little cash?

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Patrick Semansky/AP

(Read caption) Republican presidential hopeful, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, speaks at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans on June 16.

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GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich on Friday said something telling about his recent staff troubles during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” The reason he’d clashed with his now ex-campaign consultants, he said, was because “they say you should only talk about three things”.

So that’s it! We’ve got some sympathy for the ex-Speaker here. He talks like the late novelist David Foster Wallace wrote – in long, discursive sentences whose clauses curl back on themselves, crashing higher and higher, until his rhetoric becomes a tidal wave of words. In an interview Mr. Gingrich can talk about three things before you even get a question out. Some days you’d swear he could talk about three things without even opening his mouth.

Let’s look at that same “Squawk Box” discussion as an example. Opining about President Obama’s announcement that he’ll release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Gingrich said this was a bad idea, and noted, as an aside, that the salt caverns which hold the oil in question can only be emptied and refilled six times, because fresh water is used in the process, and that leaches salt out of the cavern walls.

Can Tim Pawlenty talk about the effects of Obama’s decision on cavern wall integrity? We don’t think so. (We’re also not sure Newt is right there, to be honest.)

Then Gingrich moved on to say that President Obama wants people to drive Martian cars. We’re not making that up.


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