Gingrich’s great debate expectations
November 12th, 2011
07:36 PM ET
11 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 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. SiriusVH

    Isn't that cute? I guess Robert did not realize yet that he should have also written 'Please no lies, honesty is better.' Maybe in 2024 ....

    November 13, 2011 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  2. Paul Ernest Show

    Common folks, the only reputation I know of Newt is his reputation to seek a new woman at all the time. He is sure a good skirt chaser.

    November 13, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  3. kat

    Go gett them , We need someone with a little experience and common sense in Washington, I'm pulling for you however I will support any of the GOP candidates, except Paul, if he's chosen, I'll have to stay home and hope for t the best.

    November 13, 2011 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  4. John in Brooklyn

    Gotta admit. As a liberal, I disagree with nearly everything Mr. Gingrich stands for. However, he is a smart, thoughtful man with a clear direction he wants to take the country. I don't like his vision for us....but at least it's more clear and intellectually supported than any other Republican in the race. BTW....hope Bachmann cleans his clock.

    November 13, 2011 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  5. Donkey Party

    So Newt doesn't speak for himself, ok. Who's left to crash and burn besides Willard?

    November 13, 2011 05:19 am at 5:19 am |

    Newt is the teabagger flavor of this week but the wingnuts know that he told the truth about Ryan's plan to kill Medicare.
    Telling the truth will NOT be tolerated by the GOBPteabaggers . They watch FoxLies for their lying points.

    November 13, 2011 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  7. The Greedy Old Pigs are a neocon deathcult!

    Oh yeah, Mr. Gettingrich is quite the Master Debater. You could even say he's a legend in his own mind. And the GOBP deathcultists are swallowing his BS hook, line and sinker.

    November 13, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
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