Gingrich quietly courts conservatives

We always thought Newt should never, ever have cozied up on that love seat with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2008 to do that goofy climate change ad for Al Gore.


Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich talk to reporters after their meeting Monday in New York. (Seth Wenig/AP)

We got an invitation the other day from legendary conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie and veteran GOP strategist Diana Banister telling us that, “at the request of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich,” they had “arranged a private time for him to meet with a small group of conservative leaders and ask that you be part of the group.”

The meeting is in Rosslyn Wednesday morning — Pearl Harbor Day — from 9 to 11. The duo acknowledged “this is short notice, but we think it is important that leaders of the conservative movement receive a personal update...on the status of his campaign for president, his strategy for winning the nomination and beating Barack Obama and the role that conservatives will have in the Gingrich campaign and, if elected, a Gingrich White House.”

Yesss! Now you’re talking jobs. Okay. Not going to be greedy. We don’t need an ambassadorship. (Senate confirmation would be dicey.) But consul in Florence would do just fine.

“This will not be a typical meet and greet,” the e-mail said, “but an opportunity for you to engage in a serious conversation about the future of our country.”

But it’s only two hours, so “we want to hold a tight schedule.” During the first 45 minutes “we will mingle, take photos and have informal conversations,” the e-mail said. Then “Newt will make his formal remarks” for 30 minutes and the last 45 minutes will be Q&A.

“Time is short,” the invitation noted. “The Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida nominating contests will conclude in just two months. This meeting is one of the few opportunities conservative leaders will have” to get together before then.

“This is not a fundraiser nor is this an endorsement,” Viguerie and Banister said, noting they hadn’t endorsed anyone yet, “however, if you are actively supporting another candidate we certainly respect your decision but we must request” you don’t come.

This meeting “is a chance for leaders of the conservative movement to see if Newt would govern as a conservative, including filling his administration with conservatives.” (Jobs galore!)

The meeting is closed to the press, photo i.d. required “and we would appreciate it if you kept the date and location confidential,” Viguerie and Banister said.

No problem. Mum’s the word.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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