While speaking at a breakfast on Monday sponsored by the conservative magazine The American Spectator former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich compared the current field of GOP candidates to “pygmies.” As The Examiner reported yesterday, Gingrich had a lot to say about whether or not he will run for president, the debates, and campaign finance laws.

On the topic of whether or not he will seek the presidency, “If, in mid-October, it’s quite clear that one or more of the current candidates is strong enough to be a serious alternative to a Clinton-Obama ticket, you don’t need me to run. If it becomes patently obvious, as the morning paper points out, that the Democrats have raised a hundred million more than the Republicans, and at some point people decide we are going to get Hillary unless there’s a radical change, then there’s space for a candidate. So you’ll know by mid-October one of those two futures is real.”

Gingrich then blasted the MSNBC Republican debate held in May and also the behavior of the candidates at that debate. “You’re watching an utterly irrelevant, shallow television celebrity (Chris Matthews) dominate everybody who claimed they want to lead the most powerful nation in the world.” Gingrich also mocked “the idea of 10 or 11 people standing passively at microphones,” and said he refused to “shrink to the level of 40-second answers, standing like a trained seal, waiting for someone to throw me a fish.” Asked by The Examiner if his political baggage makes him unelectable, Gingrich replied, “This is like going to De Gaulle when he was at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises during the Fourth Republic and saying, ‘Don’t you want to rush in and join the pygmies?'”

The former Speaker saved his last shot for the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law. “I have no interest in the current political process. I have no interest in trying to figure out how I can go out and raise money under John McCain’s insane censorship rules so I can show up to do seven minutes and twenty seconds at some debate.” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was diplomatic when asked about Gingrich’s remarks. “I consider it an exceptionally strong field and think they’re good people that folks will be able to choose from. And if Speaker Gingrich wants to get in, he would enhance the field,” Romney said. Sen. John McCain wasn’t nearly as nice as Romney. “If Mr. Gingrich decides he wants to get into the presidential campaign for the nomination of our party, then I would take some of his comments more seriously,” McCain said.

I think for the most part Gingrich is correct. This is a fairly pathetic top tier of the Republican field, although comparing them to a bunch of pygmies is a bit much. When a milquetoast candidate like Fred Thompson generates as much buzz as he is getting for a potential run at the nomination, it is a strong sign that the current crop of candidates leaves much to be desired. However, it takes quite a bit of ego on the part of old Newt to assume that he is the only Republican in America with the ability to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Any Republican is going to give Hillary a strong run, but I do believe that this is the most uninspiring group of candidates that either party has put out there since the 1988 Democratic field. In some way Gingrich was only saying what many people already believe, the 2008 race is the Democrats to lose, but I don’t think a Newt Gingrich or a Fred Thompson is strong enough to change this momentum. 2008 is shaping up to be the year of the rock star candidate, and if the Republicans seriously want to compete, they need to find a candidate with more personality, charisma, and energy than anyone in the current GOP field has to offer.

The Examiner Gingrich article

Romney and McCain quotes came from here 

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse

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