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January 24, 2012

Newt: I'll Stand Up For Debate Audience's Right to Free Expression In Cheering

Newt skipping debates? Unlikely.

Headline Correction: Commenters say the NYT and Drudge headlines are misleading- - Newt never said a word about not showing up for debates. In fact, he did not say a word about that. I have changed the headline accordingly.

He did turn an argument about preserving a strategic advantage for himself into a an attack on the elites:

“I wish in retrospect I’d protested when Brian Williams took them out of it because I think it’s wrong,” Mr. Gingrich said. “And I think he took them out of it because the media is terrified that the audience is going to side with the candidates against the media, which is what they’ve done in every debate.”


Mr. Gingrich clearly noticed something was off, too. “We’re going to serve notice on future debates,” he told Fox. “The media doesn’t control free speech. People ought to be allowed to applaud if they want to.”

Over at his blog, Drew argues that Newt would be the most electable candidate.

Gingrich's stuff like this -- the free speech rights of an audience (do they have the right to heckle? do mic-check stunts?) -- seems kind of transparent to me. Sort of shamelessly bombastic.

Not Implied: Ed Morrissey says that skipping the debates is implied:

eople are complaining that the original headline is misleading. I’ve changed it to narrowly fit what Gingrich said, but what was the obvious interpretation of “serv[ing] notice”? Was it that Gingrich would demand audience participation but take no action if the debate moderators didn’t comply? What about that is “serv[ing] notice”?

Nah, it's not, because there is an obvious alternative. Newt could simply ignore the first question and deliver an argument that the audience should cheer if they like, and attack the media for attempting to control them, and lay down his own rule that they should cheer.

And then, of course, he'd be cheered.

And then, of course, the rule would be inoperative due to open mockery of it.

I would say skipping the debates might be implied if and only if there were no other possible way to "serve notice."

But there is. An obvious one.

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posted by Ace at 01:20 PM

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