Since he declared his candidacy in mid 2011 Newt Gingrich never smiled so big or turned as dark a shade of cherry as when a student at Georgetown yesterday evening said to him, "Why aren't politicians more like you?"
Gingrich beamed like a headlight as the student went on to say he was the presidential candidate with "a bold vision and big ideas." In Newty Patooty fashion, Gingrich responded, "This is a good question."
It was a nice ego boost. But Gingrich was speaking on a college campus and shockingly, not every kid in Washington, D.C., wants to flatter him.
"Back in high school I was a janitor and for me it was embarrassing to be a janitor," another student said, obviously about to challenge past comments by Gingrich in which he said inner city grade school students should earn money by working at their schools. "I was poor, my mom was working super hard. I did not feel empowered by serving my classmates. Why not invest on these kids to work for law firms and hospitals [instead]?"
"Did you find it useful, financially? Is there a reason you were doing it?" Gingrich asked.
"I was doing it for my mom, she was a single mother," the student responded.
Gingrich's answer (shortened): "Right, okay..."
The line of students with questions was long. Gingrich got to about four. And unlike events with Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum or even Mitt Romney, none of them were taunts. Maybe because it's Georgetown and the students there have actual questions. Or maybe they found Newt as fascinating as I did.
This might have been one of Newty's last campaign events. Just two days ago Gingrich laid off a third of his staff as his presidential bid heads quickly downhill. And he acknowledged it. In Newty Patootie fashion, of course.
"I haven't done a very good job as a candidate," he said, "because it is so difficult to communicate big solutions in this country when the entire structure of the [political] system is so hostile to it."
Read some tidbits I picked up at Gingrich's speech at Georgetown after the jump
Newt showed up early for his speech at Georgetown by at least 20 minutes. The event started on time, which is unusual if you've ever been to a campaign event for a presidential candidate.
Before the event, Newt, lover of cuddly animals, took a trip to the National Zoo. I hear he liked the wolves.