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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gingrich, Reagan, and the Capitol Steps

In his speech after the Florida primary, Newt Gingrich said:
Let’s talk briefly about the power of ideas. In 1980, I was very honored to be able to help put together the first Capitol steps. And at that point, Senate and House candidates came together with Governor Reagan. David Broder wrote about it in the Washington Post. It was a very courageous decision by Reagan because he didn’t have to run as part of a team. And he did something nobody had done before. And we won six U.S. Senate seats by a combined margin of 75,000 votes, and we picked up 33 House seats.
Indeed, on September 10, 1980, Broder wrote:
The implicit message of Monday's ceremony is that there can be only one government in Washington at a time and that if voters want Reagan to lead it effectively, they have to go all the way with the GOP.

That is an honest statement, and it is as commendable for the Republicans to dramatize it as it is risky.
But as the letter below shows, Gingrich regarded the event as a failure.  It got relatively little press attention, and it dealt with the issues without much specificity.