Newt Gingrich just appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, and came away with a performance that earned him Top Twitter Trend status, and hundreds of unflattering Twitter Tweets.
If Mr. Matthews intended to expose GOP racism as the core of its political strategy, he did that. By asking Newt questions about some of his most inflammatory statements about President Obama – like the crack that Barack was the ‘Welfare President’ – and then zeroing in on the idea that he was using what’s called “dog-whistle racism,” Matthews got Gingrich to become flustered. Newt could not bring himself to admit that his statements were offensive to blacks, yet defended not just his own blasts, but Governor Mitt Romney’s recent so-called ‘birther joke’ in Michigan.
The exchange, which has not yet appeared on the MSNBC Hardball website as of this writing, caused Twitter to erupt. “Newt Gingrich” as a trend reached number five before falling off the chart after the segment was over. And the Twitter tweets were almost entirely negative. Here’s a sample:
Be sure to differentiate between Newt Gingrich the politician and newt gingrich the newt disease.
— Fake AP Stylebook (@FakeAPStylebook) August 27, 2012
— Elon James White (@elonjames) August 27, 2012
FYI: If Newt Gingrich can make a joke out of marriage, he can make one out of birtherism.
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) August 27, 2012
— Robert Rufa (@RobertRufa) August 27, 2012
Newt Gingrich didn’t do the Republican Party any favors in his appearance on Hardball. On the other hand, Chris Matthews successfully used Newt to create a damaging level of anti-GOP buzz.