The PR Eye of Newt

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s recent “I was having an affair while impeaching the President for having an affair” confession was a thing of beauty, from a PR standpoint anyway.

History tells us most politicians would have tried to hide this fact. The problem with that strategy is that something that titillating can rarely be contained, particularly when jilted lovers meet desperate opponents and/or competitive reporters.

If Mr. Gingrich had failed to proactively disclose, it almost certainly would have come out, probably much closer to the New Hampshire primary, when hundreds more reporters are following this story. And he probably would have been hounded for days until he was driven out of the race in disgrace.

But the brainchild of the Republicans’ “family values” revolution spins as well as he sins. He divulged his dirty little secret about a year before the first primary, when few reporters or voters are paying attention. And he confessed via an obscure right wing website.

You gotta hand it to him. Naturally, few will see the disclosure on James Dobson’s website. Moreoever, the fact that someone else reported the confession first largely makes it “old news” to egotistical mainstream news sources. (They ran it, but they ran it pretty sparingly.) And because it’s too early for his primary opponents to be in full cannibalization mode, the issue gets no legs.

I’ll leave it to others to decide if Mr. Gingrich has the character and ideas to be President, but he has the PR skills.

– Loveland