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For a Republican, Newt Gingrich received more than his fair share of applause last night at the 92nd St Y.
Of course -- in some cases -- that may have had more to do with his sharp tongue than his political viewpoints.
Sitting down to talk shop (and trade barbs) with reporting veteran Jeff Greenfield for the pundit's popular "In The News" interview series, the former Speaker of the House was on top of his game, waxing witty on everything from bailouts to the government's failure to adequately deal with the BP oil spill.
"When President Obama recently said that [the BP oil spill] is the first thing he thought of in the morning and the last thing he thought of before going to bed, I was concerned," Gingrich said dryly, sitting in an armchair while alternating his gaze between Greenberg and the audience. "Because I realized that the gap between his attention and his effectiveness is bigger than I thought."
And the presidential-aimed zingers kept coming. Later, when Greenfield said Sarah Palin could be described as someone who just goes around giving speeches to people that love her, Gingrich replied: "Sounds like Obama."
But serious concern was a tone of the evening too, with topics like the probable challenges the Democratic majority will face come November, the threat of -- what Gingrich sees as -- an increasingly centralized government, and Washington hypocrisy and corruption.
Speaking of those impending November elections, what was Gingrich’s prediction for the 2012 Presidential race?
“I think the desire to defeat Obama will unify Republicans and Independents,” he said, before adding with a wry smile, “and if their candidate wins [the election] but fails in office, we’ll be given the situation that Mayor Bloomberg has always hoped for.”