DES MOINES -- In my younger and stupider days, five or six weeks ago, I derided the idea of a Gingrich surge because I thought it would be too fun. Newt is good copy. He will say anything. He will try to outwit reporters, not dodge them behind a Crest smile.
Well, Newt surged, but he remains good copy. Only a campaign truly committed to an unorthodox strategy would have agreed to this Cafe Moms coffee klatsch, which dovetailed into a discussion of Gingrich's personal life. Sure, evangelicals have given Gingrich points and credit for being honest about his two failed marriages and the affair that ended the second. But one questioner wanted more.
"In a different world," he offered, "it would have been great not to have been divorced."
Another asked how she could be sure that Gingrich had really, really changed.
"I am a sadder and slower person than I was 20 years ago," he explained.
Frank Luntz, moderating the talk (in sneakers that were specially designed for this, he noted), followed up. Had Gingrich talked to the people he'd hurt?
"I've talked to them," he said. "I've tried to express my sadness to them."