On Twitter, Josh Marshall calls Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman’s new article on “the return of Bad Newt” a “good piece.” And indeed it is, filled with juicy on-and-off-the-record quotes we’ve all come to expect from Politico. But it’s also an example of what could be called the return of Bad Politico.
The final three grafs of the article are dedicated to quotes from “longtime Republican stategist” Craig Shirley, who defends Gingrich and compares him to Ronald Reagan:
Craig Shirley, another longtime Republican strategist, argued that Gingrich is giving people what they want right now.
“I think it’s based on his instincts, but you know, other politicians have talked like this before and invoked great leaders and great writers – Ronald Reagan invoked Cicero and Thomas Paine and Winston Churchill, and quoted them and cited them,” he said.
“I think what it says to a lot of voters is, this is a very self-confident man and right now I think the country wants a self-confident man. That was the great contrast between Reagan and Carter. Carter was full of doubts and blaming the American people … He was lost in power. Obama was lost in power.”
Left unmentioned by Burns and Haberman is that Shirley is Gingrich’s authorized biographer. Just yesterday the Daily Caller ran an article about Shirley’s book, Citizen Newt, in which “Gingrich comes out looking quite well.” The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman wrote about Shirley’s Newt biography on Wednesday while The Daily Beast’s Patricia Murphy correctly cited Shirley as Gingrich’s biographer earlier today. ABC News’ Elicia Dover got Gingrich to comment on the book on Monday,
It’s rather surprising that this oversight got through Politico’s editorial process. Shirley is a contributor to Politico’s Arena forum and his profile on the Arena website notes that he is “working on several more books including a political biography of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich entitled, Citizen Newt, detailing his early public career.” Additionally, Gingrich and Shirley have co-written at least one column together for Politico.
To be fair, Politico isn’t the only publication to quote Shirley discussing Gingrich without noting his authorial relationship to the nominee. On Wednesday, Real Clear Politics’ Carl Cannon and Tom Bevan quoted Shirley speaking positively of Gingirch and only referred to him as a “conservative political consultant and political author.”