Gingrich’s great debate expectations
November 12th, 2011
07:36 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich’s great debate expectations

Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) – Newt Gingrich revealed a bit of humility and shared a secret to his debate performances that are contributing to the candidate’s rise in the presidential race.

While campaigning in Greenville ahead of Saturday night’s foreign policy debate, the former House Speaker indicated concern that his reputation as a great debater is a double-edged sword.

“I hope so,” Gingrich replied to a woman who told him he knows more about foreign policy than the other White House hopefuls. “I worry though. Everybody says I do so well in these debates, I’m worried about the debate where I don’t do all that well.”

He shared with the Furman University crowd something that might surprise his competitors: his debate coaches are his young grandchildren.

It turns out the first thing he scribbles on paper when he gets on stage is a smiley face.

“I write a smiley and it has Maggie under it because she’s my smiling coach,” Gingrich said. “And then under that I write ‘Robert, shorter, clearer’ because that’s what he thought was wrong with my answers. I said to him one day what should I improve, he said, 'Well you could be shorter and a little bit clearer.'”

Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Cushman of Atlanta, was with her son Robert at Furman University and the grand opening of her father’s Greenville campaign headquarters.

The GOP presidential candidate pointed out young Robert who was in the audience taking photos, “So when people say I do well in debates, you’re seeing one of the people who’s guided me to success so far.”

Gingrich spoke to hundreds of supporters who gathered in the parking lot of the campaign office.

“Now people look at me seriously. Our resources are going up, the number of people going to Newt.org every day and donating has gone up astronomically,” Gingrich said. “It's a very exciting time, and I'm going to go into tonight's debate doing exactly what I've done, which is check out the smiley and remind myself of Robert's rules.”


Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • South Carolina
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Jilli

    How is this clown even allowed on stage? He's a disgraced former speaker who was forced to resign in light of ethics violations. He's nothing but a con man – his "presidential campaign" is nothing more than another gingrich scam to sell more of his books, videos, etc. Taking the tea party rubes for every dime he can get. Where are the so called principles of the gop? If they had any, gingrich never would be a consideration. Alas, they obviously have no principles.

    November 12, 2011 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. Dubya

    Secret? You just have to tell the wingnuts what they want to hear. If Romney can pull it off, anyone can.

    November 12, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. der

    Another sound family man here. Republicans can't even find a clean candidate to run...well at least one that is christian.

    November 12, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Cindy

    Lord help us, if Gingrich the radical, get's nominated!

    November 12, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. Conrack

    What a sincere, authenic anecdote from such modest and honest man. I wonder which one of his political strategists/handlers wrote it for him.

    November 12, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. Tired of the nonsense

    Newt? Humility?
    That's a contradiction in terms!
    Those are diametrically opposed ideas.

    November 12, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  7. david bidlack

    the republicans have one big bunch of loosers running for president! gingrich is the guy who because he is so tangled up in his own ideology that he was willing to shut down the federal goverment and did so just to prove his point at the american peoples exspense. the only kind of math OR THINKING this guy has ever been good at is DIVISION !

    November 12, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. Mike Buck

    There is no debate however, over the history of your hypocracy, Mr. Gingrich.

    November 12, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  9. Tubby the tuba

    Newt the hypocrite. His conduct with the many wives...married...affair...divorces wife one to marry his affair woman...affair while married to wife two while married to wife two...pointing finger at Clinton's conduct while having affair number two...divorcing wife two tomarry affair three...NOW there is a true Republican HERO.

    November 12, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  10. manhandler

    This is a guy who wants to further deregulate the banks and his wall street buddies so they can continue to dump on and steal from the middle class and the only thing CNN can do is print a warm and fuzzy little story about smiley faces? Wow....you people have really hit bottom. How about an article with substance.?

    November 12, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  11. awsomedeal

    There is always "Breakfast at Tiffanys" waiting !!!!

    November 12, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  12. Real Patriot

    OK-and Ernie and Burt will be my Secretaries of State.....and Felix the Cat will handle domestic policy-and maybe Bullwinkle and the flying squirrel will deal with the economy huh?

    November 12, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  13. vivian m.

    Gingrich does well debating the soulless brain dead mental zombies on the Republican ticket, that is. It would be fun to watch Obama mop the floor with Gingrinch's mophead do.

    November 12, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. Kris

    This piece lacks any real news substance. ...and the writer is obviously unaware that Gingrich was the debate coach while serving as a professor at West Georgia College in the 70s. There, he turned the school's debate team into a national powerhouse, rivaling and defeating debate teams representing the Ivy League's finest. The cute story about Gingrich's grandchildren is just that — a cute story.

    November 12, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. Kevin, (Minneapolis)

    I realize that for many citizens, there are numerous reasons to question Newt Gingrich's character, political views, and perhaps even his personality. One rarely spends as much time in politics as has Mr. Gingrich, without their every misstep, and misdeed being illuminated, and magnified. However, for all of the faults he may or may not have, one thing is perfectly clear to me; Newt Gingrich is by far, the most qualified of the Republican candidates to sit in the White house, and direct our country's business. His ideas are logical, rational, precise, inventive, expertly stated and easy to understand. It would be nice if we could get past the vitriol associated with his name, and concentrate on what appear to be solutions for our problems today.

    November 12, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  16. THE Essential Republican Skill

    Come on, Gingrich's strategy is simple:
    NEVER, ever, answer the question you were asked.

    November 12, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. Terry Gloege

    If only his ego wasn't so much larger than his skills and intelligence.

    November 12, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    newter man's great debate technique is to make himself sound "smart" and everyone else stupid! Unfortunately, the teapublikans have got to be tired of the rich secessionist, the man who doesn't treat women as objects but dares to call one of the most influential women in politics "princes nancy", the $250M flip flopper, the old man who wants to go back to his youth of the 1960s and now we have the overpopulator of PA who was instrumental in giving jerry sandusky some award two days after sandusky was reported being with a minor.
    All they need is for the bimbo from AK thinking that she can save the party. Talk about nuclear implosion of the once grand old party!! Sad, so, so, sad :(

    November 12, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  19. NutWing

    Newt cheated on his wife multiple times because he "has so much passion for America".

    November 12, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Robert (Atlanta)

    Gingrich's debate strategy is to say as little as possible – no substance, just more sounds bites (reminiscent of his tenure as Speaker of the House). Newt's time has come and gone and his "rise" is do to nothing more than the "sinking" of the pretenders at the "top" of the polls. It's high time for the field to be whittled down and we can start by losing the airheads of the party – Cain, Bachman, and Perry. This would at least leave some semblance of intelligence from which to choose.

    November 12, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  21. unsub

    all these clowns suk!

    November 12, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  22. zip

    Is Newt Gingrich married to a ghost??? Is that even legal??

    November 12, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. george of the jungle

    gingrich is smart he is also arrogant,self centered and a lier.He talks over everyones head and let's you know how smart he is. That will really go over well in other countries. The rest of the debaters are just a joke. Bachman is a moron and cain has no clue about foreign policy. Niether does ol mitt. Huntsman is the only one other than newt who seems to undertstand how government works and his answers where given in a manner everyone could understand and he didn't act like a know it all like newt..What a sorry lot the repos have gathered now i see they are trying to get ol arizona joe. That guy is a crook.

    November 12, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  24. PageForward

    having watched a few debated, I think the secret to Newt's debate success is that he actually answers the question rather than swerving off to an obviously memorized answer that is only tangential to the question -Perry, Cain, and Bachman do this the most, they give the answer they want regardless of the question. Romney also answers the question, although in a more narrow focus than Gingrich. Huntsman answers the few questions he is given.

    November 12, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. thomas

    Newt Gingrich earned more than $300000 consulting to a major ethanol lobbying group in 2009.

    Was Newt Gingrich's $500000 Tiffany's Bill Actually A Lobbying Gift?

    Gingrich to Pay Penalty With Dole Loan

    By John E. Yang
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, April 18 1997; Page A01

    House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said yesterday he will pay the $300,000 penalty the House levied against him for violating ethics rules by accepting a loan from a surprising source - Robert J. Dole,

    What a JOB .

    November 12, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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