For reasons that are still inexplicable, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library agreed to partner up with NBC News, parent organization of the uber-left-wing network MSNBC to televise tonight's Republican presidential debate. While NBC representative Brian Williams had more than his share of sneering biased questions, it was Williams's co-moderator, Politico editor John Harris, who laid on the snark in his attempts to bait and attack the candidates.
Such unbalanced questioning is par-for-the-course for Republicans competing at the national level. More often than not, they take it in stride. Tonight, though, Newt Gingrich was having none of it as he went full-on after Harris's attempts to insert Gingrich into a non-existent debate about an individual mandate to purchase insurance at the national level that Republicans simply are not having. Video and transcript follow.
"Well, I’m frankly not interested in your effort to get Republicans fighting each other," Gingrich retorted.
Later on, he examined more closely what Harris was trying to do by ginning up a false dichotomy between the candidates on the individiual mandate:
"I for one, and I hope all of my friends up here, going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama who deserves to be defeated. And all of us are committed as a team, whoever the nominee is, we are all for defeating Barack Obama."
Here's the video of the exchange between Gingrich and Harris:
JOHN HARRIS: Speaker Gingrich, it sounds like we have a genuine philosophical disagreement. In Massachusetts, a mandate, almost no uninsured—in Texas, a more limited approach, about a quarter uninsured. Who’s got the better end of this argument?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I’m frankly not interested in your effort to get Republicans fighting each other.
(Harris laughs, audience applauds)
GINGRICH: The fact is—
HARRIS: Speaker Gingrich, we’ve got—
GINGRICH: The fact is—
HARRIS: We’ve got—
GINGRICH: No, no we don’t—
HARRIS: We’ve got a choice between the individual mandate or not. Anyway, go ahead.
GINGRICH: You’d have, you would like to puff this up into some giant thing. The fact is, every person up here understands Obamacare is a disaster. It is a disaster procedurally. It was rammed through after they lost Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts. It was written badly, it was never reconciled. It can’t be implemented. It is killing this economy.
And if this president had any concern for working Americans, he’d walk in Thursday night and ask us to repeal it because it’s a monstrosity. Every person up here agrees with that.
And let me just say-- since I still have a little time left, let me just say—
GINGRICH: I for one, and I hope all of my friends up here, going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama who deserves to be defeated. And all of us are committed as a team, whoever the nominee is, we are all for defeating Barack Obama.
This was a rare moment in Republican political history that shouldn't be nearly so rare. In the 2012 campaign, the biggest opponent whoever the Republican nominee will face is the nation's rabidly left-wing media elite. Kudos to Gingrich for pointing this out.
Conservative candidates across the country should follow suit and not fear going after the media when they try to attack Republicans and carry water for Democrats instead of playing it down the middle as they proclaim to.