CNN's Avlon Whistles Gingrich for 'Excessive Celebration' Penalty

During Thursday's Erin Burnett OutFront, CNN contributor John Avlon flagged candidate Newt Gingrich for an "excessive celebration" penalty. Gingrich, he claimed, was letting his recent success in the polls get to his head.

Gingrich's bragging from his "Newt-centric universe," Avlon lectured, could turn off potential voters as "the more Newt starts to shoot from the lip, the more he runs the risk of reminding people why they fell out of love with him in the first place."

"Whereas I would have thought originally it was going to be Mitt and not-Mitt. I think it's going to be – it may turn out to be Newt and not-Newt," Gingrich said of the GOP presidential race. Avlon declared this was just too much bragging and that it would come back to bite the candidate.

And what NFL play did Avlon use as a parallel for Newt's boasting? The Buffalo Bills' Stevie Johnson mocking an opposing player for shooting himself in the leg three years prior. Apparently, Avlon saw it fit to compare a candidate bragging of his success to a football player mimicking another's gunshot wounding.

Avlon finished the segment with a condescending sermon:

 "Is there a cost to getting ahead of yourself and celebrating when you rise in the polls? Look, remember, this past weekend, the Jets ended up beating the Bills. So, it's a just a reminder in politics today you celebrate too quickly, you get ahead of yourself, you can end up alienating more people than you attract."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on December 1 at 7:13 p.m. EST, is as follows:

[7:13]

AVLON: Hey, Erin. Our "Political Play of the Day" tonight is the excessive celebration penalty. Now last night we showed you how Newt Gingrich is soaring in polls across the country. A new poll out tonight in Florida shows that is a real trend with substance behind it. Newt Gingrich, 50 percent in that pivotal swing state compared to 19 percent to Mitt Romney.

The question now is though is all this new-found success going to Newt's head? Well there are some signs it may be. Take a listen to this sound from a FOX interview where he's predicting he's got the nomination and slices the field a little bit in an unusual way.

(Video Clip)

NEWT GINGRICH, Republican presidential candidate: Whereas I would have thought originally it was going to be Mitt and not-Mitt. I think it's going to be – it may turn out to be Newt and not-Newt.

(End Video Clip)

AVLON: Well this Newt-centric universe brought to mind a play from this past weekend's football, Jets versus Bills. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson catching a touchdown, doing a little touchdown dance there. Here's the thing. Then mocks but Jets player Plaxico Burress, he got a penalty for excessive celebration and was fined 10 grand reportedly. The point is that there's a cost to this kind of premature behavior. And the more Newt starts to shoot from the lip, the more he runs the risk of reminding people why they fell out of love with him in the first place. For example, his exaggerated sense of his place in history. Take a listen.

(Video Clip)

GINGRICH: I helped lead the effort to defeat communism in the Congress.

(End Video Clip)

AVLON: And then, there's his healthy sense of financial and celebrity self-worth in South Carolina.

(Video Clip)

GINGRICH: I was charging $60,000 a speech, and the number of speeches was going up, not down. Normally celebrities leave and they gradually sell fewer speeches every year. We were selling more.

(End Video Clip)

AVLON: Already his opponents are taking shots at the new front-runner and the question is whether this will be a cautionary tale. Is there a cost to getting ahead of yourself and celebrating when you rise in the polls? Look, remember, this past weekend, the Jets ended up beating the Bills. So, it's a just a reminder in politics today you celebrate too quickly, you get ahead of yourself, you can end up alienating more people than you attract.

BURNETT: I love that. You know hey, Al Gore invented the Internet. Why not defeat –

AVLON: I, you know Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul and me.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014