"Whoever the party leaders selected for last night's [GOP Senate-House fundraiser] keynote could legitimately claim a modicum of heir transparency," observes the WaPo's Dana Milbank. "Hence the intrigue over the two would-be keynote speakers, Gingrich and Palin, each with an eye on a 2012 presidential run." See below for details. Above, Newt keynotes as GOPs "intellectual center" (Tucker Carlson's words) while Sarah the "It Girl" flashes a bit of political ankle. (C-Span screen grab, left, Getty Images, right)
"Like broken clock, TIME got it right. McCain's tweet at GOP funder was moment of truth: GOP = back!" we twittered in response to a Howard Kurtz twitter query this morning. More about the unanticipated effect McCain's tweet had on us, but first, Kurtz's query:
We're with Ed Morrissey, who twittered back "Both." Take that McCain tweet referenced above. It was fun, informationally enriching AND had an energizing psychological effect that traveled instantaneously over the internet from the Washington Convention Center straight into our own heart and mind:
Great to see Sarah and Todd at the dinner tonight — nice reunion!
We just happened to have been on our Tweet Deck and caught it live. We missed the dinner speeches at the time but caught some of Newt Gingrich's keynote in wee-hour C-Span reruns. Good, substantive stuff that's music to the ears of anti-statists like us. Will try to catch up today. We heard emcee Jon Voight was a smash, "taking a bite out of the Obama administration," as Fox & Friends hostess Gretchen Carlson described his crowd pleasing welcome. There'd been a frenzied buzz amongst the commentariat about whether Palin would or would not show, would or would not speak:
Palin was invited to be the keynote speaker at the dinner. What happened next, however, is a matter of hot dispute. Party officials say she accepted and reneged. Palin loyalists say she was merely mulling the offer. Either way, the party moved on and invited Gingrich to be the substitute keynoter.
In recent days, Palin was reinvited to the event, but that invitation was rescinded over concerns that the darling of the conservative base would steal the spotlight from Gingrich…
Finally, a compromise of sorts was reached: Palin would attend the event and be given a seat of honor, but would not have a speaking role.
Instead, she would be speaking to a much bigger audience, having taped an interview with Fox News's Sean Hannity (viewership in excess of 3 million). It was scheduled to air at 9 p.m. — exactly the moment Gingrich was scheduled to begin his keynote address.
'Sounds like her handlers know how to put a little flash of ankle to good use. Press reactions this morning were all over the place, from the WaPo's Dana Banks's intoxicated "Keynoter or Not, Palin Steals Spotlight at GOP Fundraiser" to CQ Politics's soberer "Gingrich Trumps Palin at GOP Gala." Take your pick. There's room for both Sarah's gung ho charisma and Gingrich's equally gung ho gravitas in this big Republican tent. As Newt told Fox & Friends this morning, "I'm an inclusionist, not an exclusionist. I think it's more fun to be a majority." Besides, Sarah's a quick study and was heard seamlessly incorporating Newtonian ideas and phraseology — duly credited — into a speech she gave last week. Enter, stage left, a Palinophobe looking for dirt:
Newt Gingrich takes no issue with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for using his words in a speech she gave last week. In fact, he'd be happy if more Republicans espoused his ideas, a spokesman for the former House speaker said Monday.
Blogger Geoffrey Dunn, who is writing a book about Palin, accused the former Republican vice presidential candidate [in a Huffington Post piece] of lifting phrases and ideas at length from an article co-written by Gingrich in 2005.
Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler said the accusation was comical. "If she used Newt's ideas in a speech and gave him credit for them, there certainly is zero issue," Tyler said.
As we twittered Jake Tapper in response to a tweet of his quoting that Gingrich spokesman:
Lefties fear charismatic Sarah, armed with Newt's words she agrees with & credits, will be unbeatable!
But woman does not live by Twitter alone. Video of the GOP Senate-House Dinner, start to finish, now available at C-Span:
Fmr. House Speaker Newt Gingrich stressed getting back to “first principles” as he addressed the 2009 Republican Senate-House Dinner. Criticizing Pres. Obama’s “utopian idealism,” Mr. Gingrich said the GOP now faces opportunities to regain the White House and Congress.
This just in on Fox from commentator Tucker Carlson, who acknowledges the excitement Sarah brings to any gathering but notes: "Newt Is emerging, I think as the intellectual center of the GOP. People are looking to him for ideas, and I think he's running for president."
Update: Maggie's links.