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.