Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday that the controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh is nothing more than a political maneuver orchestrated by the Obama White House to distract from its economic failures.
It is "a deliberate strategy by the White House," to distract from the massive, $410 billion Congressional spending bill laden with 9,000 earmarks, Gingrich said. He specifically cited the "intense partisanship" of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as the mastermind of the Limbaugh/GOP attack. Earlier in the week, Gingrich compared Emanuel to the dirty tricksters who ran the Nixon White House.
"I think what they did with the whole Rush Limbaugh thing - they can't defend signing the 9,000 earmarks, they can't defend an energy-tax increase, they can't defend [Treasury Secretary Timothy F.] Geithner's failure to pay his income taxes, so they decide, 'Let's have a fight over Rush Limbaugh.' It is the exact opposite of what the president promised ... to focus on large things, not small things," Gingrich said.
“The president promised to focus on large things, not small things; he promised to bring us together, not divide us,” Gingrich continued. “… It has to trouble you to have that level of intense partisanship as chief of staff if we're going to in fact come together as a country. And I just think either Emanuel's got to change, or the president's got to understand he is--he is going to have a very partisan regime.”
Gingrich said that Limbaugh is not the head of the Republican Party; he’s a radio personality.
“No, it's like saying does Chris Matthews help or hurt the Democratic Party? The fact is he has a large audience, he--the audience believes him, the audience calls their members, the audience has an effect,’’ Gingrich said. “He's (Limbaugh) not the leader of the Republican party. And Michael Steele's one of the leaders. Bobby Jindal, who you had on recently, is one of the leaders. Sarah Palin's one of the leaders. Eric Cantor's a rising new leader. Paul Ryan's a--I mean, there are tons of leaders in the Republican Party. It is a deliberate strategy by the White House.”
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