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Archives: Pelosi’s attack on Gingrich is a political ruse

Originally published in January 2012
Simon Nguyen

Nancy Pelosi made big news this week when the former House Speaker suggested in a CNN interview that she knows something about Newt Gingrich that could disqualify his candidacy. Her cryptic comment came only days before the critical Florida primary. Pelosi has since backed off from the suggestion, though she is still adamant Gingrich won’t be the Republican nominee. What should be made of the House Minority Leader’s claim?

If Pelosi did have some damaging information on Gingrich, she would not have made the veiled comment at this time. No one in Washington understands politics better than the former House Speaker. There is no plausible advantage for Pelosi, who is a Democrat, to show her “trump card” at this point of the campaign. If she did know something about Gingrich that the public don’t, she would have kept it to herself until after Gingrich has won the nomination before exposing the damaging information.

Pelosi’s veiled threat was either a complete exaggeration or a political ruse meant to influence the outcome of the Republican nomination contest. All indicators seem to point to the latter.

What politicians from both parties fear the most is a political survivor. Gingrich has demonstrated over and over again an ability to overcome political setbacks. After poor finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, not many insiders gave him a chance in South Carolina. Yet, he managed to beat Romney by a double-digit margin. This is something a shrewd politician like Pelosi would pick up on, and could be one of the motives behind the mysterious comment.

Moreover, President Obama and the Democrats have assumed all along that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee. A lot of opposition research has already been done on Romney. Obama’s class-warfare theme is clearly meant to draw sharp contrasts between the president as the populist and the Bain Capital co-founder as the Wall Street elite. Romney may be the most formidable GOP candidate, but he also fits well into Democrats’ campaign theme.

With most polls showing Romney surging in Florida, Pelosi may have just gotten her wish.

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