Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

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Tim Murphy is a senior reporter at Mother Jones. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy@motherjones.com.

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Your Daily Newt: Virtual Gingrich

As a service to our readers, every day we are delivering a classic moment from the political life of Newt Gingrich—until he either clinches the nomination or bows out.

I could describe in great detail Newt Gingrich's 2007 address to Second Life, in which a pony-tailed avatar parachutes onto the steps of the United States Capitol to hear the (considerably slimmer) former speaker discuss novelist Isaac Asimov novel, Necromancer. Or you could just see for yourself:

We cannot confirm that the man at the 3:13 mark is Wolf Blitzer's Second Life avatar.

Bachmann campaigns at a Rock the Caucus event on the morning of the Iowa caucuses.

Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann dropped out of the GOP presidential race on Wednesday morning in Des Moines after a fairly disastrous sixth-place finish at the Iowa caucuses. "I believe that if we are going to repeal Obamacare, turn our country around, and take back our country, we must do so united," explained the one-time front-runner, whose campaign began to collapse almost immediately after her triumph at the Ames Straw Poll in August. "And I believe that we must rally behind the person that our country and our party and our people select to be that standard-bearer." In characteristic Bachmann fashion, she left her audience with a dire warning: If Americans don't elect the right candidate next November (she wouldn't suggest who that might be), the United States would become a socialist country. Take it to the bank.

Bachmann's campaign might be history, but no one can ever take away the memories. She represented—to paraphrase Kennedy—the greatest collection of paranoia, factual inaccuracy, and overheated rhetoric since Herman Cain dined alone. And she will be missed. Here's a quick look at the road we traveled:

  1. Her proposal to build a border fence through the Rio Grande and across the length of Big Bend National Park, even though that would have the unintended consequence of diverting the course of the river and, by extension, the US–Mexico border.
  2. Her autobiography, which made its first of many egregious factual errors on the very first page.
  3. The time she tried to sway undecided Iowa voters by dancing to Train's "Soul Sister."
  4. Bachmann Eyes!
  5. The time she accused Rick Perry of giving teenage girls a vaccine that made them "retarded," was soundly rebuked by the entire pediatric community, and insisted that she was just relaying what had been told to her:

     

  6. Her obsessions with lightbulbs, the regulation of which she believes is a steppingstone to United Nations tyranny.
  7. The time she promised to close the US embassy in Iran, which does not currently exist.
  8. Her insistence that the CIA had outsourced its interrogation policy to the ACLU.
  9. The time she paid strategist Ed Rollins $90,000 to help run her campaign.
  10. Her use of the title "Dr.," even though she is not a doctor by any commonly accepted standard.

Why does the GOP race suddenly seem a little less marvelous?

Rick Santorum: "The Militant" Candidate

They've tallied up the results at Johnston, Iowa's precinct 481 and the big winner is...well, that's not totally clear. But here are the basics: Out of 335 votes cast, Mitt Romney claimed 76; Rick Santorum had 75—and further down, Michele Bachmann had 15; Jon Huntsman trailed former Alabama supreme court judge Roy Moore, by a 2 to 1 margin (Moore had 2, Huntsman had 1). Huntsmentum, feel it.

Over at Santorum headquarters at the Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston, the mood is fairly jubilant. There's a sizable crowd around the television, chanting "Rick! Rick! Rick!" (and the occasional ear-piercing whistle) whenever Fox News returns from commercial and updates its results. Steven Wagner's monitoring the television, as the results begin to show, for the first time, Santorum, creeping into first place. He's actually from DC—he flew to Iowa this weekend because Santorum's a family friend. And as much as it might pain him to say it, he wasn't quite sure Santorum was ever going to catch fire. "I was really waiting for Rick to make a move and was kind of perplexed as to why he hadn't caught on," he says. "I didn't think that it was his year, in a structural sense. There was somehow this environment in Iowa that was preventing him from catching on."

But now that he's caught on, Wagner thinks there's no stopping him. "I think Rick's the kind of militant candidate that'll give the president a run for his money. He means what he says to his bones."

Wed Mar. 30, 2016 9:57 PM EDT
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Wed Feb. 17, 2016 5:12 PM EST