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Who had the worst week in Washington? Newt Gingrich.

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Meet Newt Gingrich, political pinata.

It all began last Sunday for the former House speaker and current 2012 presidential candidate when, during an appearance on “Meet the Press,” he described Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal as “right-wing social engineering.”

Conservatives — from talk radio king Rush Limbaugh to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to some random guy in Iowa (on video no less!) — blasted Gingrich for undercutting Ryan (Wis.). Gingrich, eventually, apologized.

Then Politico reported midweek that a search through Gingrich’s personal financial disclosure forms turned up a debt of between $250,000 and $500,000 in 2005 and 2006 to the high-end jewelry store Tiffany’s. Pressed to explain what he had spent such a large sum of money on, Gingrich declined.

Just as things began to quiet down, Gingrich’s longtime spokesman, Rick Tyler, issued a stinging — and somewhat confusing — statement blaming the media for his boss’s problems. Tyler blasted the “literati” and the “sheep” who, “not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip.” Armed sheep!

And then, the final indignity. At a book signing in Minnesota, a gay rights activist dumped glitter — yes, glitter — on Gingrich.

By the end of the week, Gingrich had suffered more direct hits than most candidates take in a month — or a year. Less than one week after officially entering the 2012 race, he was forced to endure a series of stories that asked whether his presidential hopes were already dashed.

Newt Gingrich, for twisting in the wind while the political world took its best swings, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@wpost.com .

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