UPDATE (h/t BenBarrack.com)
Facts are stubborn things. So is Mitt Romney’s inability to tell the truth. And if you are repeating them without checking the facts – you are guilty also.
Here is the 1997 WAPO story from the REPRIMAND of Speaker Gingrich:
The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to reprimand House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and order him to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty, the first time in the House's 208-year history it has disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing.
"This is not a vote on whether Mr. Gingrich should remain speaker," said Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), the ethics panel's top Democrat in the Gingrich case. "In the days and weeks to come, Mr. Gingrich and each member of this House should consider how these charges bear on the question of his speakership."
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who cast the lone dissenting vote on the ethics committee, said of Gingrich's violations: "They are real mistakes but they shouldn't be hanging offenses."
The reprimand had NOTHING to do with his resignation that would come a year later.
Here is the 1998 WAPO story from his RESIGNATION as Speaker.
Rep. Ron Packard (R-Calif.), who spent months lining up support for Livingston in the event that Gingrich would leave voluntarily, said the speaker had no choice in the end: "You can't lose the war over one general," Packard said. "Gingrich has won a lot of victories for us, but he lost one crucial battle and we can't risk losing the majority, which is the war, over one general."
His exit was not due to ethics charges. It was that they lost Congressional seats. And Gingrich is quoted as saying EXACTLY what he did in the debate. That he was stepping down to keep the party on track – not fighting it.
Did he not have the votes to remain as Speaker? Very likely. Just like Mitt Romney was polling at 35% and “chose” not run for reelection after spending 220 days on the campaign trail his final year as Governor. Talk about pots and black kettles.
Here is the 1998 WAPO story that ALL CHARGES WERE DROPPED.
And what was the hubbub about? Gingrich wanted to launch a program to teach Americans about:
I. Understanding American Civilization
II. Personal Strength
III. Entrepreneurial Free Enterprise
IV. The Spirit of Invention and Discovery
V. Quality and Deming's Profound Knowledge
Vl. Applying American History
VII. Application #1: Economic Growth
VIII. Application #2: Health and Wellness
IX. Application #3: Inner Cities
X. Citizenship for the 21st Century
(Highlights mine. You don’t think the Democrats were mad he was teaching CONSERVATISM?)
You will notice:
- He was never asked to RESIGN as SPEAKER in the reprimand.
- The vote was FAR from unanimous.
- The Democrats overloaded the the ethics panel with false charges MUCH LIKE THEY DID SARAH PALIN after her VP run.
- We learned later that ALL charges were dismissed*
- Gingrich admitted he didn’t check the law before launching his education program. While there were numerous tax accusations, there were no charges that he took money personally.
- The Democrats top dog on the ethics panel – voted “present.”
- NO ONE (even Republicans) expected his resignation. He was NOT “forced” out as Santorum and Romney have said.
While Newt was not Jim Jeffords with $200,000 in his freezer, he clearly didn’t pay attention to the legal details of what he was doing and should have known Democrats would come after him after loosing their power almost totally from his leadership.
And in this, Mitt Romney is right. It does come down to leadership. So what did his replacement say about his leadership as he took over from Gingrich?
And Livingston, who in announcing his own candidacy had referred to "Newt Gingrich, my dear friend," said in a statement last night that he was "terribly saddened that a man with such outstanding leadership ability and vision, a man who has cemented his place of greatness in American history, has ended this phase of a brilliant political career."