The Corner

Coburn’s Comments On Gingrich

Appearing on Fox News Sunday this morning, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) said he would have trouble supporting Newt Gingrich as the Republican Presidential nominee based upon his experience as a member of the House while Gingrich was Speaker. Here’s the key portion of Chris Wallace’s interview:

WALLACE: Let me, Senator Coburn, switch topic. I want to ask you about one last political issue. You served with Newt Gingrich in the House and you say that he was brilliant. But earlier this year, you were asked about whether or not he could be a good president and you raised questions about that. Let’s watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COBURN: We need somebody whose eye is critical but is not harsh in their — in their manner. And I don’t mean to say he’s necessarily harsh. But I’m looking for a leader that can bring us together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: As Speaker Gingrich takes the lead in the Republican race, do you still have those questions about his fitness to be president?

COBURN: Chris, there is a lot of candidates out there. I’m not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich, having served under him for four years and experienced personally his leadership.

WALLACE: Why is that?

COBURN: Because I found it lacking often times.

WALLACE: I don’t want to pull teeth, but if you could just explain why. I think it’s an important thing. People want to know what you think.

COBURN: Well, I — you know, the thing is, there’s all types of leaders. Leaders that instill confidence. Leaders that are somewhat abrupt and brisk. Leaders that have one standard for the people that they are leading and a different standard for themselves. I just found his leadership lacking and I’m not going to go into greater detail in that. And I think if you were poll the gang — the group of people that came in Congress in 1994, in which he did a wonderful job in organizing that, he’s brilliant, he has a lot of positives. But I still — it would be — I will have difficulty supporting him as president of the United States.

WALLACE: We’re going to have to leave it there. Senator Coburn.

Many who worked with or within the Republican Congressional majority during Gingrich’s tenure as Speaker feel much the same way.  Senator Coburn is just the first to say what many have been thinking.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.

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