When I was in seventh grade, I was about 4 feet tall and I sat in front of a guy named Tony Skinner. Tony seemed to be at least 7 feet tall, was built like a NFL Tackle, and wore Buddy Holly-style glasses. Tony’s favorite hobby was picking on me. One day, I had enough. I grabbed my 2S drumsticks which I used to play the drums in Jr. High Band and nailed him right between the eyes. Of course, we were both sent to the Principal’s Office. When I told Mr. Norville, the Assistant Principal, what had happened, he just laughed and sent me back to class.
Last night at the CNN debate, featuring the Republican candidates for their party’s presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich nailed his bully right between the eyes, also. And he did it with his opening remarks:
Newt Gingrich slammed CNN’s John King for opening Thursday’s debate with a question about the former speaker’s ex-wife’s claim that he wanted an “open marriage.”
“I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office, and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that,” Gingrich said.
“Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.”
Gingrich was not finished:
After King noted that the report had not been on his own network, Gingrich said, pointing his finger, “John, it was repeated on your network, you chose to start the debate with it. Don’t try to blame somebody else for it.”
Newt received a standing ovation for smacking the bully between the eyes with his drumsticks.
On a day which saw Texas Governor Rick Perry drop out of the race and endorse the former Speaker of the House, Gingrich showed no signs of slowing down or conceding anything.
In fact, even as the debate was going on, his income tax return was released:
The income tax return shows that for 2010, Speaker and Mrs. Gingrich owed federal taxes of $994,708 on an adjusted gross income of $3,142,066. $613,517 of the tax amount owed had been previously withheld or otherwise paid, and the couple paid the remaining balance due of $382,734 (which included an estimated $1,543 tax penalty) with their filing.
Included in the wage and salary income reported on Speaker and Mrs. Gingrich’s tax return is $450,245 in combined wages; $41,625 in income from speaking and board of directors fees; $6,853 in rental income from real estate holdings; $11,892 in ordinary dividends; $5,990 in qualified dividends; and $2,525,683 in income from partnerships and S corporations, including the Lubbers Agency Inc. and Gingrich Holdings, Inc.
For the year 2010, the Speaker and Mrs. Gingrich reported $4,184 in net short-term capital gains and $32,541 in net long-term capital losses. Over the course of the year, the couple also contributed $81,133 to various charities, including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Seconds after saying he’ll “probably” release more than one year’s taxes, Mitt Romney got asked about his father setting a standard for releasing several years worth of returns and, would he follow that example, didn’t repeat that statement.
“Maybe,” Romney said, smiling tightly. He got booed as he went on.
“I’ll release multiple years. I don’t know how many years,” Mitt said, which is what earned him boos.
He said he would not apologize for being successful, a line that then earned him cheers, and helped him close the answer strong. He said he’d earned his money himself, and didn’t inherit it from his parents.
But it was the second time he has struggled with the tax question in a debate in the past week.
Earlier he said he didn’t want to release his taxes “drip by drip” because it would give the Democrats something to attack on, and he would do the last year’s in April “and probably for other years as well.”
“I obviously pay all full taxes, I’m honest in my dealings with people, people understand that,” Romney said.
Newt Gingrich, who’s been pressing the issue, said, “If there’s anything in there that’s gonna help us lose the election then we should know it before the nomination.”
Newtmentum is back, per Public Policy Polling: the company’s second of three daily tracking polls, released tonight, shows Newt Gingrich in first place in South Carolina with 35 percent, with Mitt Romney 6 points behind at 29 percent. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were tied for third with 15 percent each.
The first tracking poll, released last night, also showed a two-man race with Gingrich over Romney by 6 points: yesterday, Gingrich took 34 percent and Romney had 28 percent.
Though many other polls have shown a tightening race between Romney and Gingrich, the two PPP polls are the first ones to show Gingrich edging Romney for the lead. PPP is a Democratic polling firm, but its results generally tend to track with other public polling.
Perhaps Gingrich is leading in the polls because the public has figured out that, while Newt is smacking the bully right between the eyes with his drumsticks, Mitt is still deciding what size drumsticks he needs to buy.