It’s been something of a roller-coaster couple of hours for Newt Gingrich. Last night word leaked of an interview with his ex-wife who claimed he wanted “an open marriage.” Then he received a big endorsement from Rick Perry as the Texas governor exited the presidential race.
In the middle of all of this, Long Island Congressman Peter King, seemingly relishing his role as an attack dog for Mitt Romney, got on a conference call with reporters and slammed the former speaker as too erratic and ego-centric to become the president.
“The House is on the line this year,” Mr. King said. “I believe we can take back the Senate. We have to win the presidency. Having Newt at the top puts all of that in danger. And then, if he were elected president, to me the whole country would be in danger”
Mr. King noted that he served with Mr. Gingrich back when the Republicans took the House in 1994 and “After that, it was just a series of self-induced wounds. The Republican Party, for the four years that he was the Speaker, we went from crisis to crisis and there’s enough real crisis in government, and, if you’re president, there’s enough crisis in the world without constantly manufacturing crisis of your own.”
Mr. King told the story of coming back from the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin and Mr. Gingrich complaining about sitting in the back of Air Force 1 and said that getting laws passed in Congress back then was chaos.
“We made a particular piece of legislation, we were following or perusing, trying to get a specific agenda across and Newt would read a book over the weekend and suddenly we’d off on a different tangent when he’d be on a Sunday talk show ,making some comment that threw us totally off our stride.”
Mr. King was later asked if some of his complaints were just political ax-grinding by former enemies of Mr. Gingrich. He said it wasn;t.
“We had over—well over—200 others—well over 218—Republicans in the Congress when Newt was the Speaker, and you can’t find more than a handful who will come to his defense. And it has nothing to do with ideology, nothing to do with philosophy, it’s all the erratic, self-serving narcissism of Newt.”