The occasion for the press release is, no doubt, the discussion of grandiosity at last night's debate. Rick Santorum started it. The moderator, John King, had just pointed out that Gingrich has been saying there should be only one conservative in the race now to face off against the seemingly inevitable Romney nomination, and it should be Gingrich, because Santorum doesn't have "any of the knowledge for how to do something on this scale."
Grandiosity has never been a problem with Newt Gingrich. He -- he handles it very, very well. (Cheers, applause.) And that's really one of the issues here, folks....With Gingrich, Santorum said, you've always got to worry "that something's going to pop." Meanwhile, Santorum — by his own assurances — is a "steady... solid" guy.
King then turned to Gingrich and asked what he meant by "the knowledge for how to do something on this scale." Gingrich laid out his past accomplishments and finally came around to the "grandiosity" accusation:
You're right: I think grandiose thoughts. This is a grandiose country of big people doing big things, and we need leadership prepared to take on big projects. (Cheers, applause.)That was an elegant rejoinder (and a warning to those of us who want a break from the federal government doing "big things"). Santorum spoke next, giving Gingrich "his due on grandiose ideas and grandiose projects" but faulting him on execution, the reason why "he was thrown out by the conservatives."
Romney then raised his hand to come into the conversation, and he went into a pretty babbly sequence of words that included:
If we want people who spent their life and their career -- most of their career in Washington, we have three people on the stage who've -- well, I take that back. We got a doctor down here who spent most of his time in the -- in the surgical suite -- well, not surgery -- the birthing suite.And:
Now you asked me a(n) entirely different question. What do you -- what's -- (laughter) --He looks over to Gingrich for help, and Gingrich is all "Beats me. I don't know. Where are we at, John?" Romney struggles to find a track:
Let's -- let's -- let me -- let me say -- let me say one -- one of the things I find amusing is listening -- is listening to how -- how much credit is taken in Washington for what goes on on Main Street. I -- I mean, Mr. Speaker, it was -- it was -- you talk about all the things you did with Ronald Reagan and -- and -- and the Reagan revolution and the jobs created during the Reagan years and so forth. I mean, I looked at the Reagan diary. You're mentioned once in Ronald Reagan's diary. And it's -- and in the diary, he says you had an idea in a meeting of -- of young congressmen, and it wasn't a very good idea, and he dismissed it. That -- that's the entire mention. And -- I mean, he mentions George Bush a hundred times. He even mentions my dad once.Dad! Help!
But anyway... Gingrich was grandiose, and Mitt put out a press release to enumerate lots of things that he didn't have in his head to spew out at the right point in the debate last night.