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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

What we learned from Newt



newt-zoos010.jpgNewt Gingrich has compared himself over the years to Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Thatcher, William Wallace, Moses, Pericles and Ronald Reagan. Rodney Dangerfield seems more apt these days.

His health care think tank, the Center for Health Transformation, this month filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. His campaign has $4.3 million in debts, and the billionaire Las Vegas gambling magnate who propped up Gingrich with $20 million in super PAC spending weeks ago declared Gingrich "at the end of the line."

Surely Gingrich can't be thinking grandiose thoughts these days.

Written off as a joke a year ago, he clawed his way to within reach of the Republican presidential nomination only to be stomped back down into a punch line for late night comics. Gingrich finally is weighing pulling the plug on his campaign, having won just two of out of three dozen primary contests.

The general election is essentially underway, and few reporters pay much attention to Gingrich anyway. Not unless it's to grill him about taxpayers spending tens of thousands of dollars a day on Secret Service protection for his hopeless campaign. Or when a campaign check bounces. Or to take note when a penguin bites the former House speaker's finger on one of his frequent zoo visits.

But to twist Shakespeare's words, we come here not to bury Newton Leroy Gingrich but to praise him. Or at least try to praise him.

Did his quixotic campaign accomplish anything?

Read Adam C. Smith's take here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 5:58pm]


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