Posted Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, at 1:27 PM
Andy Kaczynski thinks that this 19-year-old video of Newt Gingrich campaigning in a new congressional district makes him look awkward.
Seems unfair to me. Who could possibly look good in this scenario? If you tracked a reporter as he awkwardly began conversations with Real People, he'd occasionally look ridiculous. (I speak from experience.) What we learn in this video is that the version of Newt Gingrich who'd just defenestrated Jim Wright was still somewhat self-effacing. "When your name is Newt Gingrich," he keeps saying, "you need all the help you can get." He's unrecognizable: The 2011 version of Gingrich is so famous that his campaign stickers just say "NEWT 2012."
But this is pretty good retail campaigning. Contrast it with Mitt Romney, who has gotten better at this stuff, but who has a very odd habit of guessing how old people are within seconds of meeting them.