Newt Gingrich did his best Sarah Palin impression this week, lashing out at the press in interviews, statements, and even epic poetry for baiting him into condemning Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan and then piling on afterwards. Now he has the real thing on his side as Palin is slamming the “lamestream media” for his predicament.
Palin leapt at the chance to get in a few digs at the press when asked by Sean Hannity on Wednesday what she thought of Newt’s ongoing Medicare crisis. Echoing Gingrich’s claim that he was “set up” by Meet The Press host David Gregory, Palin said that candidates needed to be on guard for nasty questions.
“There’s got to be the preparation on all the candidates’ parts for those gotchas,” she said. “That’s what the lamestream media’s known for now a days, it’s the gotcha trip up questions and you just have to be prepared for it and overcome it.”
Few prominent Republicans have offered up a defense of Gingrich’s comments themselves and Palin was no exception, saying that she didn’t agree with his assessment of the Ryan budget. She also subtly suggested Gingrich might not be man enough to handle pressure from pundits.
“I don’t know why politicians feel that they have to apologize for something that they’ve said just because they’ve gone through a 24 hour cycle of the lamestream media given them a hard time for something that they said,” she told Hannity. “A politician either believes in what they just said in an interview or they don’t believe in what they just said. And if Newt Gingrich believes that it is right-wing social engineering to undo Obamacare and reform Medicare to make sure that we provide a safety net for our seniors who are going to need health care coverage, then, say so. But don’t apologize later just because the media has dinged you on what it is that you said.”
Palin went much farther than Gingrich has in attacking Gregory, however, labeling him “racist” for asking Gingrich whether his claim that Barack Obama was a “food stamp president” was a dogwhistle.
“Well, talk about racism, that was a racist tinged question from David Gregory,” she said. “He made it sound like if you’re black, you are on food stamps and the President is referring to you as being on food stamps. I think that’s racist.”
Her advice for Newt? Ditch the press entirely.
“Ignore some of these reporters and their requests for us to comment and be interviewed,” she said. “We know going into what they are going to do to us, to a conservative. So, why participate in their game?”
Newt, who is reportedly considering returning to the Sunday news shows this weekend, apparently isn’t taking her words to heart.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.