GOP Stunner: Newt Sits Down with Calbuzz


A jolt of shock and awe shot through the Republican state convention Saturday, as word that Calbuzz, for heaven sakes, had scored the exclusive online-only interview with presidential wannabe Newt Gingrich.

“I can’t believe they let you guys near him,” yelped Old Chronicle conservative columnist Debra Saunders, eyes rolling rapidly in her head.

The National Affairs Desk was ushered into the Gingrich suite at the convention hotel a few hours before he delivered the star-turn speech of the convention to about 500 delegates over plated chicken. And no, we didn’t get a glimpse of Callista fixing her hair while we were in there.

“Listen, I came to this convention to literally outline why I think California will be in play this fall,” Newt told us.

The unexpected summit with Gingrich, who ranks fourth in the GOP field in the most recent Field Poll of California Republicans, took place in the sitting room of the candidate’s digs high on the second floor of the fashionable Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, as pictured above (no, it’s not a Photoshop). It came about after days of delicate, behind-the-scenes negotiations with Friend of Calbuzz Eric Beach, Newt’s California finance director.

In an engaging but cordial exchange, we asked Gingrich to explain how he can sell his right-wing views on a host of issues on which he is at odds with a majority of Californians, from immigration and abortion rights to energy and the environment. We’ll publish a complete report with Newt’s replies to our brilliant questions on Monday.

P.S. The Chronicle, in the persons of Saunders, Carla Marinucci and Joe Garofoli, were the other news organization to land a sit-down with the Grinch. In advance of its dead tree edition, they posted a couple of cool video previews of their piece, which you can check out here.

Lost Mittens:  Gingrich wasn’t alone in discussing the possibility and implications of California playing a decisive role in the GOP nominating race, as hallways and meeting rooms of the Hyatt hummed and buzzed with talk of Golden State scenarios.

As Calbuzz cartoonist Tom Meyer shows today, that may not have been a possibility that Mitt Romney spent much time planning for. Until now.


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There are 4 comments for this post

  1. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    Congrats on the journalistic score!

    I was shocked to note the other day that even Ms. Saunders who, as you note, is the Chronicle conservative–pretty much slammed the GOP presidential picks. “GOP candidates’ resumes a bit dated” Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/25/INLN1MNTI9.DTL#ixzz1nVgwnVfK

    A Republican friend of mine said she might have to do a write-in vote “not for the first time.” And nothing Calbuzz heard seems to have changed a fairly dismal picture for the presidential primaries. This is just getting sad.

  2. avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

    If against the longest of odds my former Congressional collegue, Speaker Newt Gingrich, wins the Republican nomination he won’t run on the issues CalBuzz claimed he will. I know for I sat at Newt’s desk many Wednesday late afternoons talk about his winning election formula for conservatives.

    He will NOT be selling, to quote CalBuzz, “his right-wing views on a host of issues on which he is at odds with a majority of Californians, from immigration and abortion rights to energy and the environment.”

    Instead, he will be selling those of his issues in which as much as 80% of Californians are in agreement. For example, my greatest (that is my G.A.I.N.state law) and perhaps his greatest achievement was adoption , mine in California and his in the Nation, of the workfare law requiring able bodied adults on welfare to work or train in exchange for their welfare check.

    That was “right wing stuff” in Maxine Waters’ and Tom Hayden’s and other Liberal eyes but my polling showed majority approval for workfare including even among those voters who considered themselves Liberal.

  3. avatar starstation says:

    Wow…what a ‘get’.
    Jerry has that 900K smile…and Phil…obviously in awe that he is in the presence of greatness.
    and I suspect Newt would rather hang with you guys vs. the helmet head.

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