First it was searing criticism. Then it was glitter. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has had a lot hanging over his head in the week since he announced his bid for the presidency. But in the middle of the firestorm over a series of Sunday show gaffes, the Republican received an unlikely piece of advice from another potential 2012 candidate: Don't retreat, reload.
"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 lame extreme media giving them a hard time," former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a FOX News contributor, told Sean Hannity Wednesday night.
After Gingrich equated House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's Medicare overhaul proposal to "right-wing social engineering," fellow Republicans warned that Democrats would use his words against the party. Gingrich later apologized to Ryan, calling his comments "unfortunate" and "inaccurate." But Palin says the real blame lies at the feet of her frequently-stated adversary: The media.
"Don't apologize later just because the media has dinged you on what it is that you said," she advised, adding that she thinks Gingrich's assessment of the "fiscally sound and courageous plan" is "terribly wrong." "Come on, fiscal conservatives. Let's stay strong and principled, and not disappoint the electorate, so that they have a true choice coming into this election."
As for Gingrich's insistence that calling Obama "the food stamp president" was not what NBC's David Gregory called "racially-tinged language," Palin argued that Gregory was to blame for asking the question. "That was a racist-tinged question from David Gregory. 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."
"Don't even participate in that goofy game that has been played now for too many years, with the leftist mainstream media trying to twist the candidates' words and intent and content of their statements," she advised the beleaguered Gingrich, who in an interview earlier this year warned that Palin should "slow down" and "think through" her words.
"Don't let the media define who these candidates are. Let us, as constituents, as voters, as potential candidates, we need to do our homework," she said.
Palin said that she is still "seriously considering" a run herself, qualifying that she doesn't live for "the game" of speculating "who is doing what." "What I live for is fighting for family and faith and freedom in this country," she said.