Although Gov. Sarah Palin is her party's vice presidential nominee, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) believes Republican presidential nominee John McCain seriously considered asking Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn), he said at a Kennedy Political Union event Saturday.
McCain apparently wanted Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats, to be his running mate because of their good working relationship and the bipartisanship he would have added to the ticket, Gingrich said. His speech analyzed the campaign tactics used by the Democratic andRepublican contenders in the 2008 presidential primaries and generalelection.
McCain must have known it would be unfeasible to nominate Lieberman to the Republican vice presidential slot because he was former Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore's running mate in 2000, Gingrich said. He advocated Palin's placement on the ticket because he wanted a next-generation reformer who could bring real change to Washington and energize the convention and said McCain's selection of Palin shows Americans how daring he is.
"On the Republican side, it was like watching the most amazing galvanizing I've ever seen," Gingrich said. "McCain is saying to all of us biologically, 'You want real change? Okay. You want to see a big gamble? ... I'm staking the entire rest of my career on Governor Palin.'"
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama had four advantages over Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) which allowed him to achieve victory in the Democratic presidential primaries, Gingrich said.
The first, according to Gingrich, is his exceptional articulation and eloquence; the second was Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of his candidacy; the third was his decision to campaign from the left side of the political spectrum, so he could declare himself an anti-war candidate; the fourth was his talented staff's creation of the nation's most effective political presence on the Internet.
Obama made two mistakes in recent weeks, the former out of overconfidence and the latter out of timidity, which harmed his campaign, according to Gingrich.
Obama's overconfident mistake was his self-identification as a "citizen of the world" during his visit to Europe, Gingrich said. This statement might cause some Americans to believe Obama puts his world citizenship above his identification as an American.
Obama's timidity mistake was his selection of Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) as his running mate. Obama picked Biden to shore up his weakness in foreign policy experience, as this shows a deficit in Obama's character of confidence, according to Gingrich.
Sam Hagedorn, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs (SPA) who served as an Obama delegate from Minnesota at the Democratic National Convention, said he thought Gingrich's analysis of the Obama campaign's virtues and shortcomings was fair.
"I certainly did not take offense at Speaker Gingrich's comments regarding what Obama could have done more effectively," Hagedorn said. "In his opening statements, he approached this election from a historical perspective, and every campaign, in hindsight, has things that could have been done better."
Hagedorn blogged about the convention for politics@theEagle, The Eagle's politics blog.
Gingrich, who served as the first guest speaker in this year's Kennedy Political Union lecture series, said his appearance at AU was his first opportunity after the completion of both major parties' national conventions to discuss the 2008 presidential election with a group.
Ed Levandoski, a sophomore in SPA and vice president of the College Republicans, said he thought Gingrich's speech was meaningful and enjoyable for Democrats, Republicans and independets.
"It was a great conversation as a whole, and it was a pretty objective overview," Levandoski said. "I thought it was a great talk following up the two biggest partisan events of this election."