Thursday, January 27, 2005

Dated January 27, 2005 at 11:45 am
Newt Gingrich Shocks Tavis Smiley by Complementing Senator Hillary Clinton. But, why the surprise? Smart Republicans concede Hillary, like Mr. Bill, is a smart pol.
Newt Gingrich: If they [the Democrats] think they can spend four years being negative and build a majority, they just totally misunderstand this country.

Tavis Smiley: Right.

Newt Gingrich: It was interesting to me that the smartest Democratic politician in the Senate, Senator Hillary Clinton, voted yes [on the nomination of Condoleezza Rice to be Secretary of State; the vote was 85-13 to confirm]. She understands having cabinets; her husband had eight years of cabinets. She understands the role of the Senate and I think it was interesting that she [Hillary] thought the best position was to be statesmanlike and to vote for Condoleezza Rice because the President deserves to have the Secretary of State that he is requesting. I think a number of the other Democrats look petty and small, and nasty in a way that is just not productive. I am all for fighting, but this kind of petty nastiness, I think, is just counterproductive to the side that’s doing it.

Tavis Smiley: Before I jump to this book, did I hear you say that you think that Hillary Clinton is the smartest Democrat in the Senate?

Newt Gingrich: Absolutely, and as a politician, she’s easily the most effective politician on the Democratic side.
Former Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, speaking on the Tavis Smiley Show on January 26, 2005. The Tavis Smiley Show airs throughout the country on PBS and airs in the Chicago metropolitan area on WTTW, Ch. 11, daily during the week at 11:30 pm.
One of the more notable, but perhaps predictable, of the 13 U. S. Democratic Senators [I count Senator Jeffords as a Democrat] voting against Condoleezza Rice was Senator and 2008 Presidential candidate hopeful John Kerry. One of the more surprising of the Senate votes cast against Rice was that of the usually moderate U. S. Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, a darkhorse 2008 Presidential candidate.
Also interesting was the split between Illinois’ two senators. Illinois’ senior senator, Dick Durbin, who is not thought to be running for President in 2008, voted no on Rice. Illinois’ much acclaimed and very junior senator, Barack Obama, who Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn [] thinks is running for President in 2008, voted yes on Rice.
The individual confirmation votes on Rice, discussed above, serve to demonstrate, once again, that Newt Gingrich does understand politics.
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