Newt in Meredith: Romney’s an SNL Skit

Newt Gingrich drew 225 people for a town hall at Church Landing in Meredith Thursday evening.

MEREDITH – “He’s not a conservative. It’s a joke for him to call himself a conservative. It’s a Saturday Night Live skit.”

That was Newt Gingrich describing Mitt Romney at a town hall meeting at Church Landing in Meredith on Thursday evening that drew 225 attendees and about 25 reporters.

Gingrich, relaxed and flashing a sense of humor, was on his game. He wove stories, historical references, and jokes into a 36 minute speech that skillfully engaged his audience. He was as sharp fielding six questions during 18 minutes of Q&A before his staff organized a line so anyone who wanted to speak with him one on one got a chance to do so. There’s no question Gingrich won votes tonight.

Gingrich was all about drawing sharp contrasts between himself and President Obama, and between himself and Mitt Romney. President Obama is a “food stamp” president. Gingrich will be a “paycheck president.” We’ll either have European-style socialism or a free-market economy. Republicans need to have a campaign in which the candidates are far apart – Gingrich stretched out his arms – and not one in which there are only small differences between the Republican nominee and the President. “Someone who comes out of a moderate,Massachusetts background” – who could that be? – can’t make that clear contrast, Gingrich said.

“We’ve had three years of an amateur. I’m not sure three years of a conservative amateur or a moderate amateur will work,” Gingrich said, describing himself as the only candidate capable of defeating President Obama.

The funniest moment of the evening came when a 22 year old man from the Seacoast rose to ask Gingrich to give him hope for a brighter future. “In ten years, many of the people in this room will have passed away,” the man said, asking Gingrich for advice on “the life I have yet to live that you have already lived.” This all went over big with the crowd, which was definitely heavy on gray hair.

Gingrich smiled, looked aside, and paused several beats for effect. “There are moments in this business when I’m almost left speechless,” Gingrich said at last. And then he simply knocked the question out of the park with a rapid-fire riff on what a nuclear Iran would mean for the world and making references to cheap student loans indebting young people who end up dependent on their parents for housing and, thanks to Obamacare, health insurance until the age of 26.

It was exactly the type of answer that makes Republicans salivate at the thought of Gingrich debating President Obama., January 5, 2012

A voter excercises her First Amendment rights in Meredith.

Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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