The Best And Worst Of Newt
At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, Gingrich is confronted by a veteran who asks why he and other vets in the state have to travel so far for medical care. What followed was classic Newt.
It was the first Gingrich had heard of this problem, but the wheels in his head immediately started turning. On the spot, he began rattling off possible solutions.
“I think we should find ways to create satellite clinics locally so people don’t have to travel,” he said off the cuff, adding that vouchers could be provided to let veterans receive care at nearby hospitals. “We’d love to work with you in getting that done.” He then put the man in touch with one of his aides in the room to provide further details about the frustration of living in a state with limited access to key medical services.
After speaking to the man, Gingrich’s aides did some digging and found the problem of care for veterans is in fact a major issue in the state.
The very next day, Gingrich had already incorporated the hospital into his standard stump speech, complete with a plan to fix the problem.
I love that Newt is is informed enough in general to not be stumped by something he hasn’t been briefed on and facile enough as a politician to immediately jump on a good issue without going through a month of focus grouping. His intellectual curiosity, base of experience and variety of interests is simply unmatched in this field. It is exactly the kind of broad foundation a President needs, especially when coupled with a conservative track record like his.
Here’s the problem…if that question had been about lack of nutritional food options at local stores (so called “food deserts“) Newt’s reaction likely would have been the same.
Creatively helping veterans is a wonderful idea for a presidential candidate. Developing a federal response to a private problem is…Michelle Obama.
When critiques of Newt point to the potential kind of ad-libbed overreach, I can’t argue against them. But then again, there isn’t a candidate in the race who hasn’t be guilty of that sort of thing themselves. All I can say is I think there will be far more of the good kind of Newt creativity than the bad kind.