BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Mr. Speaker, in your book "To Renew America," you say that you took two years to restudy history. When did you do that?
REPRESENTATIVE NEWT GINGRICH, AUTHOR, "TO RENEW AMERICA" Oh, in my spare time. I started, in a real way, I guess, in December of '92. I worked on it just occurred to me that we had to go back to our roots, so I began reading about the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers and how we got to this. It was very much influenced by two books by Gordon Woods on the American Revolution, and that was sort of my spare time. And then I taught a course called Renewing American Civilization three times, 20 hours each time, once in Kennesaw State College and twice at Reinhardt College, and I did that on Saturday mornings, so I stayed fairly busy.
LAMB: There's a new book I haven't heard you talk about in your book that you said you read, the 1888 version of the George Washington story by Henry Cabot Lodge?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, it's fabulous. What happened was I was with Everett Carll Ladd, who's one of our great political scientists, and he said I really had to go back and see Washington before the modern era, see how people thought about him in traditional America, and that Henry Cabot Lodge's biography of Washington was really helpful. So the Library of Congress, which is one of the greatest virtues of being a member of Congress I was able to call over and borrow the book. And I read that I think it was at Easter in '93, and it was very helpful. And it really is a different a more idealistic, romanticized version of Washington as people saw him in the post Civil War generation.
LAMB: You have a lot of names in your book. Let me just ask you about some of them. Who's Bill Tucker?
REP. GINGRICH: Bill Tucker is a professional writer and he was my editor I had two editors: Adrian Zackheim at Harper Collins and then Tucker. Tucker would take my writing I did 140,000 words on my laptop and then Tucker would take that and gradually pounded it down to about 80,000. I love writing, I hate editing, so it was a pretty good relationship.
LAMB: Where did you take the laptop to write this book?
REP. GINGRICH: Everywhere. It was on the airplane with me, it was in the car with me. I did most of it at home, though, in Georgia. We bought a house last September in East Cobb, and so I did most of it sitting out in the yard, just writing away. And then we used CompuServe to ship chapters back and forth, because Tucker and Zackheim were both in New York City.
LAMB: David Maraniss, in his book on Bill Clinton, talks about and he does informally talks about what kind of a grader he was when he taught school he said he's real easy, give everybody A's and that Mrs. Clinton was a tough grader. How are you as a grader, as a professor?
REP. GINGRICH: I think I zig zag. I think for a general introductory course I'm fairly easy if I think you're doing your work, and I'm very open to how you approach it, so I don't mind people who disagree vehemently with me about ideas. I think in a graduate course or in a professional course, I'd be very tough. I'd require a lot and I'd expect people to do a lot.
LAMB: Did you ever give out many F's?
REP. GINGRICH: No. I gave occasional F's. I mean, I think if you earn it, you ought to get it, because I I got F's when I was an undergraduate, and I there were times I deserved it, and it would have been a lie to give me anything else.
LAMB: What'd you get an F in?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, I got an F in an English course one time that I just couldn't do. It was Southern short stories and I failed. I mean, I just failed. I got an F once in a political science class for having missed most of the final because I was off doing something political. I mean, I just there were periods of my undergraduate career when I was fairly irresponsible.
LAMB: Now knowing what you know about your book, what kind of a grade would you give it based on what you expect out of students?
REP. GINGRICH: I think probably between an A minus and a B plus. I think it's not polished enough to be an A. It would have taken another two or three months to have really polished it as well as you'd like for a book you could say, `Hey, this is right.' But it captures so much of what I wanted to say and says it so directly and so readably and I think it's an easy book to read that I think that it's pretty close to an A minus, but I'm you know, I'll leave that up to you. I would live I'd survive with a B plus.
LAMB: Do you have any idea whose name is mentioned the most often in this book?
REP. GINGRICH: No. Whose?
LAMB: Your wife's.
REP. GINGRICH: Is that right? That's interesting.
LAMB: Marianne, your wife, gets nine mentions.
REP. GINGRICH: Well, she's earned more than that.
LAMB: Let let me—I broke out those mentions. Let me mention each one of those to you and have you expand on it. You thanked her for hundreds of hours of brainstorming, critiquing, editing, organizing, supporting and cheerleading. Tell us more about the hundreds of hours. How do you two interact on stuff like this?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, I mean, sometimes well and sometimes not so well. I think that's a you know, we're like a lot of couples. I think we're both very high energy, very intense people. We both have very strong minds of our own. She got a call from a reporter the other day who said that they'd heard a rumor that I was her guru and she broke up laughing, and she said, `Newt my guru? That's crazy.' And I said to her, `Well, you know, you didn't have to be quite that enthusiastic. I mean, you could have said, "Well, maybe a little bit."' But she's a very strong willed person. She's very, very smart. She's smarter than I am and more creative. And she has an absolute instinct for middle America.
She grew up in Leetonia, Ohio, which is a very small town without doesn't have a traffic light. Her dad was the mayor of the small town. Her mom still lives there in the house that she and her father built or acquired about 1933 or '34. And I think that Marianne has just a gut instinct for the commonsense, normal way that people deal with life. I mean, it's a it's much more than I do. I'm much more of a bookreading intellectual, slightly out of touch with that common, everyday experience, and she's fabulous about
She's also willing to work very, very hard. And she ran two of my campaigns when I was in trouble, pulled one of them out when I might have gotten beat, and she helped invent the Conservative Opportunities Society, sat in meetings, designing it. She has her own life, so she doesn't I mean, she I'm sort of her hobby as well as her husband. But she does other things on her own, but she really has spent a lot of hours on this stuff.
LAMB: Another mention is that she participated enthusiastically in sessions of Frank Wolf's committee on family. How? What was that all about?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, at the very beginning, when we took over the House, Frank Wolf had been our leader on the problems of just things like, `Can you connect the House's vacation with school vacations so that members of Congress can be with their children? Can you get us out on time on Fridays so that members can catch airplanes and have a sense of order to their lives?' And Frank has been a very major player. And Marianne was involved in establishing a bigger family room with more effort to have families involved, and I think Frank felt that she really contributed to it in a major way to making that committee it's a bipartisan effort, Democrats and Republicans, just trying to make Congress not as tough on younger families as it has been historically.
LAMB: You mentioned her in regard to the Red Bead game.
REP. GINGRICH: She studied under Edwards Deming, the father of the quality movement, and so she really introduced me to the concept of how they have an experiment that Deming used to do where you had a lot of white beads with some red beads intermixed, and your job was to use a scoop and get only white beads, and it was technically impossible. And he was trying to teach that it wasn't human effort, but it was thinking of the system inventing a better way of doing it that really led to quality. And it's a great game, and she introduced me to it.
LAMB: Well, it's also in connection with the Roger Milliken retreat. When
did that happen?
REP. GINGRICH: She had gosh, this would have been, I think, in '91. I'd have to go back and check, but she went first of all, we went together to a retreat with Roger Milliken's senior executives. Then she went off and took the Milliken quality program. Then she studied for 50 hours under Deming himself. So she really put a lot in to this particular area and was sort of my coach on making sure I understood parts of it.
LAMB: Who's Roger Milliken?
REP. GINGRICH: Roger Milliken's the head of the Milliken Corporation, which is, I think, the largest independent textile company in the world.
LAMB: Also, you say in here that, `Marianne and I have become good friends of Dick and Jane Gephardt.' How good?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, I think it's been stretched strained a little bit in the last six months, but I think we're very fond of both of them and I think they're wonderful Americans. They Dick understands the difficulties, the tensions, the frustrations of the House as well as anybody. Jane's just a wonderful human being. They were very kind to us when we won. They've been very kind good we traveled with them to Russia twice and we'd, you know, had time to be with them over a week at a time. We get to know each other better. You know, I think it's been very painful for Dick having to lead his party through this transition of minority, and I think it strained our relationship some. But Jane got Marianne to serve on the Children's Inn at the National Institute of Health, which is a program to help children and their families who have diseases. And so we owe a lot to them, and I think, at a personal level, outside of politics, we're very fond of both of them.
LAMB: You said last year that your wife had a thyroid problem, but it led to some better understanding from her standpoint or confusion or frustration with the doctors and the system.
REP. GINGRICH: Well, what happened was she had a thyroid difficulty. She had a growth on her thyroid which turned out to be, I think, a cyst or something. But in the process of trying to find an expert, she called three different thyroid experts, none of whom would tell her what it would cost or what the labs would cost or anything. So she had no information going in. And both she and my older daughter, Kathy Lubbers both get furious with doctors who assume they're idiots because they both are, you know, very intelligent and they both want to be told contextually ‘What's happening to me? What are my options? What does it mean?' And doctors have a tendency to say, `Here. Go get this prescription.' And so they both think that the medical system could, in fact, help educate and work with and inform patients much, much more than they do.
LAMB: Any idea who was second after Marianne?
REP. GINGRICH: I hesitate to ask, at this point.
LAMB: Bill Clinton and third is Dick Armey. He had seven mentions in the book.
REP. GINGRICH: That's wild.
LAMB: Does that say anything?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, I mean, Armey is the chief operating officer of the House. He is the leader on a day to day basis of the revolution. He is a great intellectual, has a book out on his own, as you know, with the Freedom Revolution, if I can get a plug in for Dick. And he's just a great human being. I mean, he's literally, I'm able to delegate to him the day to day management of the House in a way that I think is quite extraordinary and probably has never occurred before on this scale.
LAMB: Here's a quote from you in the book: "America is about each individual seeking happiness and marrying someone he or she falls in love with, then having American children who seek a better future for themselves and their families." What are you saying?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, I'm first of all, I'm saying that it's a seeking process. I mean, there's no guarantee of happiness, and I think every one of us gets up every morning, you know, at least I I'm 52 now and I find that in some ways, I'm getting happiness, and in other ways, I wonder why I got up this morning. I mean, you're an American success story, a legend in your own right. And I'm sure you get up every morning, and on the one hand, you're exhilarated that C SPAN is alive. On the other hand, you're going, `This is my schedule? I got to do this?' And I think it's always a balance. I also think that it's very important to try to find people that you can pursue happiness with. I think we are social animals. We're not governmental animals, but we're social animals, and I think humans are often happier if they have people they like near them.
LAMB: One of the things that when someone is interviewed so often as you are
and when you're doing a book...
REP. GINGRICH: I got to say, I'm very impressed with how you're doing this.
LAMB: Well, there's more to come. I wanted to ask you about I mean, there's a lot of things in this book that I want to ask you. That's why I'm jumping around here.
REP. GINGRICH: Yeah.
LAMB: Explain this. What is credit card hell for your daughter?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, my I can't remember which of the two told me this line, but one of them said to me one afternoon that they went through a period in college where, suddenly, they had to pay for their own credit cards and they discovered that they actually send bills at the end of charging for things. And they both both of them independently had this experience of getting very much in over their head, and then they had to go for six or eight months and not charge anything while they gradually paid off their credit cards. And they described that process of sort of climbing your way up out of debt as credit card hell, when you've overextended yourself because it never occurred to you that when you charge one thing over here on your gas credit card and another thing over here on your department store and a third thing over here on your Visa card, all three come in at the end of the month and you have to add all three of them together. And I think almost every American, at some point or another, has found themselves, without realizing it, sliding into having owed more than they thought they did.
LAMB: When you and I were growing up, we couldn't do that. Is that good or bad, that you have credit cards for kids at 19 percent?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, I think it's inevitable, when it's like having paper money instead of gold. It has great strengths and great weaknesses. Well, the fact that you and I can get on an airplane using a piece of plastic, fly to Singapore and buy something that's real with a piece of plastic from a person who's never met us is a miracle in some ways. I mean, it allows a worldwide economy of extraordinary power for consumers, but it has risks, and we have to be honest about the risks.
LAMB: Quote, "John Kasich" he also gets three or four mentions in your book "He is passionately in love with America." Do you know anybody that's not passionately in love with America?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, I know a lot of people who take America for granted. Kasich comes out of that western Pennsylvania steel mill, coal mine, gut Americanism of just where you see the flag and you get tears in your eyes and hear "The Star Spangled Banner" and you stand a little straighter. I mean, it's a very real phenomenon, and John just is absolutely, idealistically, romantically in love with his country. A lot of people are they're glad they're Americans, but they don't necessarily get a tear in their eye or they don't necessarily they don't think about it. They don't live it. John lives it.
LAMB: You open the book and you at some point early on, you talk about a fellow named Joe Gaylord and you talk about a plane ride.
REP. GINGRICH: It's a good way to refer to him. He'll love that.
LAMB: Well, I want you to...
REP. GINGRICH: `A fellow named Joe Gaylord.'
LAMB: I want you to tell us who the fellow is that you say, in the book he's probably the best student of congressional campaigns in the whole country and that he told you you were going to be speaker before anybody else did.
REP. GINGRICH: Yeah. Joe Gaylord is a remarkable student of American politics who was the Iowa state Republican Party executive director. Then he came to the Republican National Committee and was the national director for state Legislatures in 1980, when we picked up 700 seats. Then he went to the Congressional Campaign Committee and ultimately became the director of it and was in charge of designing the '84, '86 and '88 campaigns, and then became a consultant. He is one of my closest personal friends, and he is a man whose judgment I regard as extraordinarily good overall, I mean, just has a remarkable ability to know what not to do and to know where the land mines are in American politics.
In June of last year, he wrote a paper that described 231 seats, 224 by winning and seven by switching. We ended up at 230 by winning and now two by switching, so we're one ahead of his goal. We then executed that paper and in September and I think it's September 17th or 18th it's in the book we got on an airplane and we were going to have a planning meeting. And I said, `Are we planning for speaker or for minority leader?' And he just said very bluntly, `You better be planning for speaker because that's what you're going to be.' And the other two people on the plane, Steve Hanzer and my chief of staff, Dan Meyer, we all three stared at him because he said it so flatly. And we said, `What?' And he said, `You better plan to be speaker because that's what's going to happen.' And we said, `OK, smart aleck.'
And he then, by memory, started with Olympia Snowe's district in northern Maine and went through every district in the country in 90 minutes, weighting each district. And we ended up in his I think his first guess was plus 44 or plus 45, and it was astounding. By early October, he was at plus 52, which, of course, is the number we got to. And ultimately, I think it was at plus 53. We were short one. We missed a couple seats by a few hundred votes. But it was one of the most amazing performances I've even seen. He has he's now designing the '96 campaign. He teaches at the Campaign Management College. He has a book called "Flying Upside Down," which is the best introduction to modern campaigning I know of. And...
LAMB: What's he telling you about '96 right now?
REP. GINGRICH: We win, basically.
LAMB: If you keep what you've got...
REP. GINGRICH: We gain.
LAMB: ...as the margin?
REP. GINGRICH: Our goal's 250, six Senate seats and 20 House seats. Actually, we're gaining since get fewer House seats because we keep switching people, so if we get about five more switches, we'll only need to pick up 14 or so to be at 250.
LAMB: There are a couple of other threads in the book. One of them is you do a lot of, `there are five reasons why you must do this, `there are four reasons, `there are six points.' Is that something you consciously do?
REP. GINGRICH: Yes. Imean, people it's like cookbooks. People work better if they have very specific, step by step directions. And I was trying to write, in part, an introduction to where we have to go. And I the numbers aren't magic. What I would do is I'd sit and I'd say, `Gee, what do I think we have to do?' And I'd list all of them, and then I'd take the number that list became, and that'd be the number that goes in that particular slot.
LAMB: Do you think we need that?
REP. GINGRICH: Yes. I think as humans it's a lot like learning how to cook. We function better with very clear instructions.
LAMB: Another thread: media comments about the media all through, and also about professors.
REP. GINGRICH: OK.
LAMB: Let me just grab one here: media. "Since the" this is your these are your quotes. "Since the liberals in Washington in the Washington press corps will always play up a Republican who fights other Republicans, there is a certain advantage in breaking with the team." What do you mean by that?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, I think if you want to get a lot of coverage, if you're a Republican and you want to get a lot of coverage, attack another Republican and you'll be described instantly by all sorts of elite media as a wise, sophisticated, thoughtful person, whereas if you stay with the party, you'll remain anonymous. So in the short run, there's a certain payoff in the media to being willing to break with your party.
LAMB: "The Washington press corps" a quote from you "immediately got in it into their heads that the contract was big mistake." How can you say `the Washington press corps'? Everybody.
REP. GINGRICH: I can't. And the correct thing would be to say, `much of the Washington press corps,' or, `the vast majority of the Washington press corps.' Clearly, there were people all along who didn't I mean, Michael Barone never thought it was a mistake, but he's one of the rare I mean, I think, very sophisticated students of what we do. But it's fair to say the vast majority, and I probably that's why I wouldn't deserve an A. There's a good example of why we the book needed a little more
LAMB: Quote, "In our day, too many intellectuals, columnists and bureaucrats have to come to accept the European notion that government matters more than its citizens." First of all...
REP. GINGRICH: I believe that.
LAMB: Well, first of all, tell--why do the Europeans think the government
matters more than...
REP. GINGRICH: But there's a core difference. In the European model, power comes from God to the king and then is loaned to the citizen. So coming out of medieval Europe, you have a model in which the state is very powerful. You see this in Brussels now with the common market. In the American model, the power goes from God to the citizen and is then loaned to government. So there're radically different models of: Where does power start? And in the American model, the individual's enormously more important than in the European model. And frankly, it's troubling a lot of people in Europe who understand the greater power and the greater freedom of the American model, and are very worried that Brussels is becoming too much of a center of power that takes power away from individuals.
LAMB: But you say here that intellectuals aren't you an intellectual?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, I don't think any intellectual in the country would think I was an intellectual. I'm just a hack politician who reads books.
LAMB: `Columnists and bureaucrats have come to accept the European notion that government matters more than its citizens.'
REP. GINGRICH: And again, I think that if you were writing more tidily, you would have said, `Many intellectuals and many bureaucrats and many government officials,' but I think there's no question that if you talk about the so called intelligentsia, the people who hang out in elite colleges and see each other and would accept each other as intellectuals, that their model is a much more government dominated model and their belief, for example, in national health care delivered by government, redistribution of wealth delivered by government that they are very government focused rather than individual focused.
LAMB: "It always amuses me" this is your quote "when reporters and columnists assume I must be a traditional Southern conservative with, they hint, racist and redneck roots." How often does that happen?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, every once in a while, you'll see somebody making some reference to me being, you know, sort of typical to those kind of people or based on my roots, etc. And, of course, I'm an Army brat, born in Pennsylvania and grew up all over the world, so I just I find interesting the assumptions people project onto you about how things must work.
LAMB: Now this is not the media, this is the alumni association at colleges. `Most successful people get an annual letter, quote' this is the letter comes in from the colleges `"Please give us money so we can hire someone who despises your occupation and will teach your children to have contempt for you."' Did you make that quote up?
REP. GINGRICH: Abs no. I made the quote up, but I'll guarantee you, I talked to successful groups of people Fortune 500 presidents, for example, or people who are very successful as an you know, in their own lifetime. And I'll say to them, you know, `This is what's happening. All of them are complaining about their alma mater, all of them are angry about something that's happened recently and all of them are writing checks out.' And they just break up laughing with sort of a self identification that somehow, every year, they get talked into transferring wealth to an intelligentsia which vehemently dislikes everything they're doing, and that never occurs to them that there ought to be some relationship between their donation and what's happening.
And at Yale, there was a donation of $20 million to set up an American civilization course. After several years of trying, they couldn't get the faculty to agree to teach American civilization. They had to turn the $20 million back to the donor.
LAMB: Why do people do it if it's that...
REP. GINGRICH: I don't think they think about it. I don't think they I don't think that they think that it's their right not to do it. I think they get guilt tripped. And I'm just trying to say to them, `Hey, it's your money. You have every right to do what you want to.'
LAMB: This next one's a bit tricky, and I'll explain to you why. `The elite
media still controls the news gallery.'
REP. GINGRICH: Ah. OK.
LAMB: And the vice president programmer of this network's going to be the chairman of the gallery over there in another year or so, and I'm not asking whether he thinks he's part of the elite media, but what are you talking about? What's the elite media?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, the elite media is mostly and I would say C-SPAN is not part of that. I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I would say C-SPAN is a remarkable institution, totally free standing. It has is the media, in a sense. It doesn't mean it you allow people to watch without editing everybody who has anything to say that can figure out a way to get in front of your camera, which is the most diverse political diverse experience in America, is to watch you for the cour over the course of a year.
There is a Washington press corps which is probably a couple thousand people who go to each other's cocktail parties, hang out with each other, have lunch with each other, talk with each other, ride on the press bus with each other, and over time, they shape their own collective views. And there have been all sorts of studies of this. They consistently vote to the left of Clinton. They are consistently far more liberal than the country at large. Their values are far more left than the country at large. I think it's fair to say that that is a collective group.
And they have some attitudes that are sort of territorial. As you know, we've talked about who controls the pool camera and how that ought to be run and how much it costs and what kind of reasons the networks
might have for wanting to make it expensive and limited. When the I think this was in reference originally to the radio talk show people.
LAMB: It was.
REP. GINGRICH: Yeah. The radio talk show people show up and all the official reporters say, `Well, you're not news,' which they're not. I mean, they're I don't know what they are, but they're not so the radio TV press gallery said excuse me `You don't have any standing here because you're just a talk show host.' So we said, `Fine. You don't you can't go to the radio TV gallery. Here's my balcony and here's an area downstairs.' So actually we ended up, I think, with as much space dedicated to talk radio this year as we have dedicated to the traditional news media.
LAMB: Said, `Maybe we'd better go upstairs and you can talk to the next chairman about opening it up to the talk show hosts'?
REP. GINGRICH: I thought I'd wait and see just how long the radio TV people had to took them to figure out that if you have all these talk show hosts all over the building, it's better to have them inside the radio TV gallery talking with you than it is to have them out there on their own competing.
LAMB: Another quote. Oklahoma City reminded you and by the way, you say in your book that you went in there in the dark of night, early morning to avoid
REP. GINGRICH: Yes.
LAMB: What time did you go in?
REP. GINGRICH: We landed at 4 in the morning and left at 6:30.
REP. GINGRICH: I had talked with Louis Freeh, the director of the FBI, and I'd also talked with Congressman Ernie Istook. And I said, `Would it be helpful' I was in Arizona. I had to go back home in a private plane Friday night. And I said, `Would it be helpful if I came out on my way just to- this had happened on Wednesday `to see the damage and to get a feel for what help you're going to need from the Congress?' Both of them said they thought it'd be very useful for me to come.
And the concern they had was if I came at 9:00 in the morning, there'd be a media circus. So I said, `Why don't we just try to arrange my schedule to get in and out before anybody notices? Don't tell anybody. Don't put it in anybody's schedule. And let's not get' and to the best of my knowledge, nobody got a picture of me. I mean, we just we arrived, we were met by the governor's representative, the mayor's representative, the FBI, the Mr. Witt, the head of who does a magnificent job the head of the emergency Federal Emergency Management and two of the congressmen. And we rode into town and they showed me everything they wanted me to see and I saw the bomb damage. I shook hands with many of the volunteers and thanked them for helping the rescue squads. Then I went over and met with the FBI people and the other folks who were engaged in the manhunt, and then I left, and nobody really knew about it, I don't think, till I got to Atlanta.
LAMB: Well, in back to this quote, you say about Oklahoma City, "reminded me of the news media, which is emotional, how misguided and how biased the coverage of violence and the coverage of the right to bear arms has become."
REP. GINGRICH: Well, because immediately it became an issue about assault weapons when, in fact, a man had driven up with a van loaded with fertilizer and fuel oil, and it had no relationship. I mean, it'd be like covering the O.J. Simpson trial, which is about two people whose throats were cut with a knife, and arguing that this is another argument for banning assault weapons. I mean, there was an immediate leap if you go back and cover watch the coverage for about five days there, it is astonishing how ideologically driven the commentary is, and it has no reference to what happened. What happened was somebody who we believe to be a nut did something that was horrible that has nothing to do with what the media elites then tried to turn it into.
LAMB: Elite culture you say this and by the way, these quotes are all throughout the book; they're not on one page. "Predominate in the upper echelons of Washington and the media that says that American history is nothing but a story of racism, oppression, genocide, disenfranchisement and constant violations of norms to which we all thought we subscribed."
REP. GINGRICH: I had it happen to me yesterday. I was speaking well of the Founding Fathers and a reporter turned and said, `Weren't they slave owners?' And I says, `Yeah, they were slave owners in a period when people across the planet were slave owners. They were also people who believed in ending slavery. A number of them gave up their slaves in their lifetime, and they all thought we had to abolish slavery as rapidly as we could.' But there was the reporter had to say something negative on the Fourth of July about the Founding Fathers because there's this deep, built in sort of, `You can't allow America to be an idealistic city on the Hill. There's got to be something wrong with it.'
LAMB: On the unfunded mandate question, you say that Congress gets all the credit. The Washington press corps and interest groups always see to that, the idea meaning that the idea...
REP. GINGRICH: Well, what happens is because because the coverage starts from here for your evening newspaper, you're going to get and the page one story's going to be about the Congress more than about the county commissioner. If the congressman can say, `Well, we'll stop them from doing X,' whatever X is, then the congressman passes it. Now if it's an unfunded mandate, we haven't paid for it. So now the city and the county and the state have to pay for what we get the credit for, which is part of why local elected officials were furious about unfunded mandates, because they had to do all the work and they had to pay all the prices and we got all the press releases.
LAMB: Who's John U is it Uelman (pronounced ULEman) or Uelman (pronounced ULman)?
REP. GINGRICH: John Uelman is a conservative activist from Kansas City.
LAMB: You quote him as there at a point after the election is over that conservatives wanted you to reject the word `growth' because it is what the Washington press corps likes to say about someone who comes to Washington and betrays grass roots people. Quote, `"We don't want you to grow in the eyes of the Washington media," said John Uelman.'
REP. GINGRICH: Well, it was very interesting. It was about 2:00 in the morning. We all had enormous adrenalin, as you can imagine. We had just won control and I like to listen to a lot of people. I like to get people giving me advice and stirring the pot, and so about 25 of us sat around and chatted for an hour. And I said, `What do you think of what you've seen so far?' And that was the number one concern that four or five people raised from having watched me do interviews that night. They said, `Don't get lured into this idea that you now have to grow into being acceptable to the Georgetown set.' You know, `We want you you were elected because the country wants a more conservative Congress. Make sure you stick with it with what you believe in,' which is why that Friday I went to The Willard and made a speech in which I said we would cooperate, but not compromise. I was trying to send a very direct signal about our keeping our faith with the people who had elected us.
LAMB: Speaking of that and the growth thing, I counted one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight eight Georgians and I'm sure I missed some that you referred to, people from your district.
REP. GINGRICH: Mm hmm.
LAMB: By the way, is Gwinnett County in your district?
REP. GINGRICH: Part of it is.
LAMB: Did I just read that Gwinnett was a signer of the Constitution or...
REP. GINGRICH: I think so, yeah, Button Gwinnett.
LAMB: Ted Hirsch the reason I bring up Ted Hirsch, mayor of Carrollton, Georgia you say taught you something about the Weimar Republic and that he is a Jew who carries around some bills from the Weimar Republic.
REP. GINGRICH: Yeah. Ted Hirsch was a fascinating guy. He was the mayor of Carrollton, a very un again, an example of what an amazing country America is. This was in the early 1970s. He was German born, Jewish, still spoke with an accent, not what you'd have picked to be a typical Southern town's mayor. But he had vividly he had left just at the as Hitler was rising, and he had brought with him money from Weimar, Germany, which was overprinted. So it'd say `5 marks' in the original print, but then they would have stamped it a billion marks. And he gave me a set, which I still have in the office, which shows the danger of inflation and that inflation can destroy a democracy and can undermine the whole process by which a middle class believes in its government, because it eliminates all value. I mean, you've saved all your life, and suddenly Bam! it's all wiped out by the inflation rate.
LAMB: The reason I mention these Georgians is to ask you whether or not I mean, did you consciously reach back to your district to get all these...
REP. GINGRICH: No, no, not consciously. These are things that are deep in my personal memory and experience. I mean...
LAMB: You were down signing, recently, the books in...
REP. GINGRICH: Yes.
LAMB: ...at Marietta, Georgia. How did they cover this in the district, this book?
REP. GINGRICH: Massive. I mean, it was amazing the amount of coverage we got in the Marietta Daily news and in the Atlanta Journal Constitution over the last four or five days.
LAMB: Did they pick up on the Geor...
REP. GINGRICH: Not so much, no. They we haven't seen the book reviews yet. They were more fascinated by the fact that we had, you know, 850 or 1,000 people coming through at a book signing. I mean, they were sort of they were like me. They were sort of overwhelmed by the turnout. We had two signings, and they were just huge.
LAMB: You say about Tom Murphy, the speaker of the Georgia House, that, `He has devoted much of his energies to trying to destroy my political career.' Then you go on and thank him.
REP. GINGRICH: Well, it's an odd story. Tom Murphy is a very powerful, very successful politician. He's spent 26 years as speaker so far the longest serving speaker in the country. I went up to see him in December of 1978 with Mel Steely, a good friend of mine who'd known Murphy for many years. And Murphy gave me advice which, ultimately, I think, helped me become speaker. I mean, he told me how he became speaker and how he you know, he sat on the back rail and he helped people and when people needed an amendment written, he helped him write it. When they needed somebody to help them speak for something, he just over the years consciously helped his many friends. And then when there was vacancy, he was the natural person to rise.
And I often thought all through the '80s of Murphy's advice, which, I think he gave to a freshman congressman as an act of generosity. But because I was a partisan Republican and he was a partisan Democrat, it, I think, really got to him that I was see, I was his congressman. So here you are the Democratic speaker of the House in Georgia with a Republican as your congressman. I think it just drove him nuts. And so he gradually went to work on trying to beat me. He recruited candidates, raised money. Finally he gerrymandered my district. It was a very sincere effort. I mean, he paid—I don't think it was a major part of his career, but he paid a fair amount of attention to trying to knock me out.
LAMB: If we followed you around, where would we see you getting this tether back to what you say, `Don't grow on us,' in the eyes of the Washington media? Where do you get that?
REP. GINGRICH: I get it everywhere. I mean, I get it by going home, as I just did over the weekend, and hanging out and listening to people talk. I get it I mean, you'd be surprised, if you were to hang around for a day or two, just walking through an airplane or an airport or going to a shopping center or just the number of people who walk up and say, `Keep doing it. Don't back off.' You know, `Don't get timid. We're with you. Hang in there.' I get it by talking to a lot of friends, like John Uelman. We got it from GOPAC and the many, many major activists that the in GOPAC. We get it from members. I mean, these freshmen didn't come here to become traditional Washington sellout artists. I mean, these folks are here to change things, and there are 73 of them. So they bring a level of toughness and a level of energy that's very encouraging.
And then there are a lot of friends I talk with on a regular basis, like Jeff Eisenach and Heather Higgins and Grover Norquist and a whole range of people who, you know, routinely give me advice and counsel.
LAMB: Where do you hear the other side, though?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, you hear it in the editorial pages of The Post and The Washington Post and The New York Times. You hear it occasionally from distinguished columnists on Sunday morning talk shows. You get a little you don't you, frankly, don't get as much of it. You get sometimes from consultants who think that their job is to make me -to smooth off my edges. You know, `Gee, you don't want people to see you being so stark and so clear cut,' and my answer is, `No. I think it's you know, I think it's good for the country to occasionally see somebody that says, "Look, this is what I believe in."'
LAMB: Have people tried to tell you to change your shirts and your ties and your suits...
REP. GINGRICH: Yes.
LAMB: ...and the way you cut your hair and all that?
REP. GINGRICH: Yes.
LAMB: What have you done?
REP. GINGRICH: Not much. We've gone through a couple of rou...
LAMB: So why have you...
REP. GINGRICH: We've gone through a couple of rounds on my ties because I like animal ties, and I get beaten up by my staff every time I wear one. I have a rhinoceros tie that has a rhino right here and it has Mt. Kilimanjaro up here with snow on the mountain, and it looks like an ice cream cone on television. So the my entire staff screams at me if I try to wear
LAMB: But have you ever seen a possibility that what got you where you are is what got you where you are and all these changes that people want to bring about because you're there might get in the way of continuing your...
REP. GINGRICH: Sure. And you got to you got to first of all, just again, I think you've had this same experience, if I can push this back on you for a second.
LAMB: Please don't.
REP. GINGRICH: No, no, no. But I think it's true. I mean, any of us who have become successful and have large institutions that depend on us, you have to learn some new habits. You can't be the same person in terms of: What did you do when you were the Republican whip? I mean, the you know, we're dif it's a different job. It's a Eisenhower learned a great thing. Fox Conner, who had been John Pershing's chief of staff in Europe in World War I Fox Conner taught Eisenhower in the '20s, `Always take your job Seriously, never yourself,' and it's a wonderful admonition to people
who are growing and trying to do things.
The job of speaker of the House, you know, teacher, leader of the revolution, writer that's a different job than the job of back bench, bomb throwing Republican whip. So what does the new job require? It's not about what is you know, `How should Newt, you know, do a better hairdo?' but what does the new job require? And how can you learn the new job? I think that's what matters.
LAMB: How do you protect yourself, though, from getting going too far with the advisers saying you got to change?
REP. GINGRICH: I don't worry about it. I mean...
LAMB: What have you changed? I mean, what have you what do you do now that you didn't do...
REP. GINGRICH: Well, I think I'm more careful. I think I'm more positive and less attack oriented.
LAMB: What's your reaction to all the security around you?
REP. GINGRICH: I try to ignore it. I just try to function it's like having I mean, you just try to keep functioning and it's very important to recognize they have a job to do, which is to protect the speaker of the House, but that you don't want unlike the Secret Service, which is so massive that you can't reach beyond it, there's still a thin enough screen that most days I just ignore them. If I want to go shopping, I go shopping. If I want to stop and talk to people, I stop and talk to people. And they're very professional. I mean, they orient on me, I don't have to orient on them, and so they're not as big an impediment as you'd think. But I had to consciously retrain myself to not notice them, because early on, it used to bother me that they were standing around. I felt bad. I mean, `Why are they here?' And, `Can I do something for them? Can I keep them amused?' No. Their job is to make sure that nothing happens to me, and as long as they're doing their job, I should basically pay no attention to them...
REP. GINGRICH: ...which took some real training.
LAMB: ...you said in the book that when you stood up on the platform on the podium not the podium up on the where the speaker's rostrum on day number one, and you look at again, this is another mention of Marianne. You looked up and saw her in the gallery that you never thought you'd ever be standing in that position. But we kept reading all through this process that this was one of your goals, to be speaker of the House. Were we reading the wrong thing?
REP. GINGRICH: No. It's just I can't it's hard to explain. The to have my mother and father and my wife and my mother in law and all of our various relatives and our nieces and nephews and I don't think I'd ever, at a human level, had a notion of what it would be like to stand there. I mean, somehow being speaker was sort of in the abstract over here and it would be a good thing to do and you knew other guys did it. But to stand at the center of the House chamber and look at your personal family and realize it was you, I don't that may be a dumb way to say it, but I don't know a better way to say it. It was much more powerful, much more emotional, and I don't think I'd ever, inside myself, realized what it would be like to actually be in that
LAMB: In this book, and it hasn't been out that long, but early on, what people are writing about it, what surprises you? Anything?
REP. GINGRICH: No. I think the reviews tend to be and again, from The New York Times types tend to not quite get it, but they're not hostile and they're not nasty. So I think that that's actually
pretty good. I mean...
LAMB: Did you say at any point while you were writing this thing, `I'm going to do this chapter because it's going to get this is the lead on this book'?
REP. GINGRICH: No. No.
LAMB: Did you ever write that `This is going to make news if I say this'? I mean, did you ever think that?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, I think the section where I talked about English being the national language will probably make news. I think the toughness of my position on college faculties will probably in the long run make news, although not as much so as English. There are a couple places like that, but it wasn't written like I mean, I didn't try to say I, frankly, thought that if I wrote a book that was pretty direct that the fact that the speaker of the House wrote a book that's pretty direct would make plenty of news.
LAMB: Well, this is another quote, back to the intellectual media world that we were talking about earlier. You say this. `The intellectual nonsense, propagated since 1965' be interested to know why you picked that year `in the media on university campuses, even among our religious and political leaders, now threatens to cripple our ability to teach the next generation next generations to be Americans.' What's '65?
REP. GINGRICH: It's interesting. You know, I picked it because of my own experiences. And Dick Williams, who you know, just did a biography of me, but as a conservative columnist, came up to me and said, you know, that's exactly the same year he'd pick. And we were chatting about why we picked it. I think '65 was the year that the Vietnam War began to go sour and Lyndon Johnson failed to tell the truth about it and to explain it. And the counterculture movement began to develop momentum in California. Remember, it's already a huge issue by '66, when Reagan runs for governor. And the civil rights movement, in the process of correctly destroying segregation, was also indirectly challenging all of the fabric of American authority.
And the it's the coming together of those different pieces that I think made '65 a seminal year. Johnson is passing the Great Society in Washington. And if you read, for example, Olasky's book "The Tragedy of American Compassion," he cites the values and the structures of the Great Society, and they are a tremendous break from traditional American society. And they really are economic redistribution; the government is the primary agent of change. The bureaucracy is the right place to do things. And it's an enormous detour from what America had been doing for about 400 years.
LAMB: Don't you have a lot of intellectuals around you from time to
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, sure.
LAMB: But you're always, in these quotes, kicking them.
REP. GINGRICH: No. The intellectuals around me would if you wanted to use the term intelligentsia I mean, there's a self identified, elite intellectual group in America who see themselves as the guardians of this alternative to traditional American civilization, and these are folks who write what I think is largely gibberish and explain deconstructionism and all sorts of ideas that I, frankly, don't pay much attention to, but that are somehow mystically going to be better than American civilization: multiculturalism, the counterculture, etc. And intelligentsia might have been a better term to describe the self descendant, but it's I would guess it's a very significant part of most arts and sciences I mean, most arts and sciences faculties at places at the elite universities, for example.
LAMB: Clear up I don't know what the word would be, but clear up this difference in your book. You say up front that FDR, quote, "probably is the greatest president of the 20th century," and you've said that before.
REP. GINGRICH: Mm hmm.
LAMB: Then you say later that the Great Depression, under Hoover and FDR, left us with a centralized bureaucracy dominated by Washington. If you follow you around, listen to what you have to say, you're constantly criticizing a centralized bureaucracy...
REP. GINGRICH: Sure.
LAMB: ...and all the programs that FDR brought in. How can he be both the greatest president in this century and then the one that's caused all the centralization that you're trying to get rid of?
REP. GINGRICH: No. I mean, first, I wouldn't criticize all the programs he brought in. I mean, Social Security's been an enormous success, in its own right, and I think that there are other things he did that were amazing, that were if you went back and looked at him, you'd say, `Yeah. We should do that.' The creation of the national park in Tennessee, the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority. I mean, there are areas of activist behavior. I mean, things that were right in the '30s may be wrong in the '90s, but if you take what he tried to accomplish between saving democracy at home and then saving democracy abroad in World War II, I think he is the most remarkable politician of the 20th century.
That doesn't mean I wouldn't have, in many ways, opposed him in that period as a Republican. It doesn't mean I wouldn't have raised questions. But I think anybody who wants to study how a democracy achieves things ought to start with FDR, because he is the most sophisticated, most complex leader that we had in this century, and he accomplished a great deal. You don't have to agree with all of it to say, `Boy, that was a great accomplishment,' and I think he was he's truly a remarkable figure.
LAMB: You cite Brooks Jackson's book...
REP. GINGRICH: Mm hmm.
LAMB: ..."Honest Graft," and he writes about Tony Coelho. He followed him around closely. And then you say about the book say, `In effect, your I mean, this is what you said the book was saying. `In effect, your tax money was being used against you. The whole game was rigged.'
REP. GINGRICH: Right.
LAMB: What's the difference between...
REP. GINGRICH: Well...
LAMB: ...what you all do now and what Tony Coelho did then?
REP. GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I think that this is one of the most difficult and troubling questions we have to face in the next few years that our system that the amount of money, the power of the information age, the whole structure of things, that we really have to reinvigorate American self government, and we don't know how to do it yet. I mean, I that's why in New Hampshire, I reached out for the president's hand and said, `Let's try to find a way to talk about this whole concept, whether it's lobbying or gifts or campaigning that there's something wrong in the system.' That's still true. I mean, the fact that we're in charge doesn't mean that the systemic change has occurred.
What we do do that I think is helpful is we shrink the size of government. We're going to have a smaller government. We're going to have less money to give away. There's going to be less pork out there. And so at least at the margins, we begin to create an environment where you have more money in your take home pay, you get less money from the bureaucrat and I, as a politician, have less to give you. I mean, I'm in the odd position George Will described it as negative ambition. He said, `These guys all have this negative ambition of giving up power so that people back home have to do more on their own.' That's different than the and, again, from a liberal Democrat standpoint, building a big bureaucracy to give away goodies was a legitimate use of government.
In our case, we're trying to shrink the government so we'll have fewer things to give away, and that's at least a good first step. But I still think we need a tremendously deep and complicated discussion about democracy in the information age.
LAMB: How much time do you spend raising money, in some form or another, either directly or indirectly?
REP. GINGRICH: Not much, but I'm a very unusual example because I'm speaker of the House, and we can raise an amazing amount of money in one evening. I think candidates have to raise a fair amount of money. But again, how much does Diet Coke spend advertising? Or how much does General Motors spend introducing a new car? I would argue we need to rethink the whole structure of politics rather than simply focus on this campaign or that campaign. How dangerous is it to have millionaires buy Senate seats? I think very dangerous, and I think we need to think through, how do we deal with that problem? So I think it's one of the most important discussion points in American politics and something I'm trying to, frankly, write a letter to the president about to say, `Here is a way to think about how we could pursue beginning this discussion.'
LAMB: Can you predict at what point, within the next couple of years, that you'll solve some of these problems with money?
REP. GINGRICH: '97, '98, I think we could actually get to some solutions. I don't think you can do enough intellectual work in the next 12 months to
pass any major reform, and I think we've got to go back and rethink how we're approaching this issue.
LAMB: What would what's the number one thing you'd do with this issue if you could, if you could do it the way you wanted?
REP. GINGRICH: I think I would do two things immediately. I'd require every member to raise half their money in their district, and that would automatically change the balance of where our money is; and I would, second, say that if a millionaire spends over $100,000, there are no contribution limits to their opponent, so you can balance the playing field. Because I I am really worried that we're going to end up with a Senate that's owned by millionaires.
LAMB: Back to the book, `Guy Vander Jagt, my friend and mentor.' What kind
of a mentor?
REP. GINGRICH: He is. I mean, he is my friend and my mentor.
LAMB: Well, but what aspect...
REP. GINGRICH: Well, Guy I should say Guy was the chairman of the Congressional Campaign Committee. They backed me three times; I lost twice. They backed me the third time.
LAMB: This is before you came.
REP. GINGRICH: Before I got here. I lost two times, in '74 and '76. I won in '78. And in December of '78, I had not yet been sworn in. Guy made me chairman of the planning committee for the Congressional Campaign Committee and I helped, working with Bill Brock, plan the 1980 campaign. And so at very early in my career I was a freshman I was already being allowed to be involved directly in designing national campaigns and at looking at things. And Guy was just always fabulously supportive. I would not be speaker today without Guy Vander Jagt's help.
LAMB: Charlie McWhorter, you say, a lobbyist with AT&T for years, really gets credit for the Contract With America.
REP. GINGRICH: Yeah. Charlie McWhorter's just one of those great American characters. He helped found the Newport Jazz Festival. He was the vice president of AT&T. And he came into my office in the spring of 1980 and he said, `You know, we ought to get everybody together on the Capitol steps and we ought to pledge to do something. It'll be a great visual. It will tie the team together.' And we went over to Bill Brock had sent him over, and I loved the idea. And McWhorter helped sell it to the Reagan campaign. And in October of 1980, we had the first Capitol steps event, which was really an effort to bring the entire the Senate, the House and the presidency onto the steps to make the same pledge at the same time. It was a great event.
LAMB: You say in your book that and I've got a whole list of books that you mentioned. One of them is Arnold Toynbee's "A Study of History," and you say,`It liberated me from any sense that we inevitably know how to keep America
REP. GINGRICH: Well, there's something very humbling about reading Toynbee, because he'll jump from Mayan civilization to archaic Greece, to the Inca valley to Hong- China, and you begin to realize that he'll talk about a dynasty that lasted three times longer than all of American history, say, in pharaonic Egypt. And suddenly, it gives you a whole different perspective that as much as we've done in 200 years, we are babies in comparison to civilizations that were around for 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 years, and we have a lot of work to do to keep our society alive and vital if we're going to be really able to contribute to the progress of the human race.
LAMB: Did you reread him during your study of...
REP. GINGRICH: No.
LAMB: ...recent study of history?
REP. GINGRICH: No. I the truth is, Toynbee is so long and so complicated that I just didn't have the time to go back and do it. I didn't reread "Asimov" either, the `Foundation' series. But I'm one of the things I'm lucky about is I have a pretty good memory, so...
LAMB: You said this about Michael Crichton that `he's a standard alarmist environmentalism about environmentalism in which humans are forever messing
REP. GINGRICH: Yeah. I like Crichton's books, let me say up front. I thought "Jurassic Park" was fabulous. I thought that a lot of his books are very, very well done and he's a very interesting guy, and I'd love to sit and talk to him sometime. But consistently humans are the bad guys, and consistently it's sort of Frankenstein revisited over and over again. And I don't think that's the history of the human race. I think most of technology on balance has improved things. I think that sitting in an air conditioned room watching C SPAN on a colored television set beats, you know, being next to a primitive fireplace outside of a cave. And I think that overall, technology's more good than bad.
LAMB: You talk a lot about God in the early part of the book. Why did you decide to do that?
REP. GINGRICH: I'm really I'm not sure when it happened. I can't tell you that there was some magic morning. But it occurred to me some time in the last four or five years that if you're going to go back and study American history and think about America, that you can't explain our experience without starting with the use of the word `creator' in the Declaration of Independence and that there is a degree to which America is based on religious belief that we have simply driven out of public life.
And then I was really overwhelmed when I taught the course Renewing American Civilization for the third time. We my team had found Franklin Roosevelt's eight minute prayer on national radio on D day. And when you listen to President Roosevelt praying and you think about it, it is overwhelming. I noticed even in "Apollo 13," I saw over the weekend, Congress passed a resolution of prayer 1967. I mean, only in the last quarter century have we driven God out of public life and gotten to be a society which is where government is more anti religious than it is protective of religion. And I think it's been a profound misreading of the whole fabric of American civilization.
The Founding Fathers were against favoring any single religion, but they were deeply in favor of society having a religious base all of them were, I think, including Jefferson.
LAMB: Through the book, you talk about being age 10 and that at that point, because of the story about the zoo up in Harrisburg, which we've heard before, that you were hooked forever on public life, and that at age 14 that you were a gardener for the summer and that you thought about your father's trip through Verdun over in France; then at age 16, crossing the Atlantic, you were having these heavy thoughts about committing your life to public service and all that. Do you remember all that at that age?
REP. GINGRICH: I either remember it or I remember remembering it; I'm not sure which at this stage of my m but I think I remember, yeah.
LAMB: But why, at age 10, would you have been hooked on public service? What was it right then about the zoo...
REP. GINGRICH: Well, the thing that happened was I was a kid going to see African movies on a summer afternoon. And when I come out of the matinee, there was a sign next to the theater that said `City Hall.' And I was all pumped up about seeing animals and seeing these great African films, and I thought, `Well, we ought to have a zoo.' So for some reason I think this is partly my grandmother, who was a very devout Lutheran and believed that, you know, `God rest my soul. Here I stand; I can do no other.' So she really pounded away at this idea of, `You have to do your duty.'
So I walked through the alley and I went to City Hall and it's a funny story in the book, but it's a true story. I went upstairs to the Parks Department, which is where I was sent by the receptionist, who see, I think I was actually nine at the time, maybe even 10. But I go wandering up, and the head of the Parks Department is gone, and so I get to see the civil servant, who's his deputy, who's in his early 60s. Well, it turned out he had dated my grandmother, so he took me in and he showed me all these things and and he showed me the records from before World War II when they had a zoo in Harrisburg and talked to me about, you know, what they fed the lions and all this it was a wonderful adventure for a little kid. And he said, `Now what you have to do is you come back next Tuesday and you come to the City Council meeting and you tell them why we need a zoo.'
So he called my mother and said he was sending me home in a cab and not to worry about the fact that I hadn't been on the bus. And this was a much simpler and safer world, obviously. And I went home and my mother said, `Well, if you need to go back' I mean, my mother was very supportive of this stuff, and she said, `If you have to go to City Council, I guess you have to go to City Council.'
So the following Tuesday, I come wandering in and I do remember vividly the couple ahead of me complaining about garbage being dumped near their house. And so then it was my turn, and I got up and I talked about Harrisburg needs a zoo, and I gave them why I thought we needed a zoo. And the local reporter had nothing to write that day, so the next day, here's this nice article about me going and talking well, if you're a little kid, and here's this whole article about what you just did at the City Council, I think it you're sort of hooked. And so I there was no turning back, at least in terms of some form of public life and public involvement.
LAMB: What will it take for you to say that this book is a success? How many do you have to sell?
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, I think I don't know. I think if enough people look at it and decide that its ideas are worthwhile and every indication we have in the opening couple of days is that it's going to be very, very successful, so I'd rather just say I'm confident you know, I think we need an argument about whether or not there's an American civilization. And if there is an American civilization, what are the rules for its survival? I think this book helps launch that argument. And if that and I'd rather measure the success that way. If we have a serious discussion in the next year and a half about renewing American civilization
vs. continuing down the road of the welfare state bureaucracy, then I think the book's massively successful.
LAMB: Were you involved in the decision that it be 260 pages and $24?
REP. GINGRICH: No. $24 was Harper Collins' decision. The 260 pages were a random accident. I mean, I wrote 140,000 words and they edited it down to 80,000, and they could have gone to 290 or they could have gone to 240 or...
LAMB: What's not in there that you would have liked to have had in there, that you would have...
REP. GINGRICH: Oh, we had a much longer section on the contract that I really liked and about taking over the House and all this. And my wife read it and she said, `Throw this stuff out,' she said, `because they don't need to see this.' But she said, `That's a different book. Write that some other time.' And they killed about, I would say, three good chapters, just Bam! they were gone.
LAMB: Is that their say so and not yours?
REP. GINGRICH: My wife's say so. I mean, she said, `This won't work.'And, I mean, it's all dialogue. You sit there and you argue it out and you say, `Do you want to keep this in? Do you want to take it out? How much detail do you really want?' And you try to think from the standpoint of a typical American who may not be passionately involved in the question of: How did you organize this particular subcommittee? And why did you pick this particular chairman? Or, why did this happen? It's stuff that would be wonderful in a Washington book but is not particularly helpful in a book about civilization.
LAMB: You say some things about a friend of yours, Jim Tilton, who died.
How important was he in your life?
REP. GINGRICH: Enormously; I mean, second only to Marianne. The I was...
LAMB: Who was he?
REP. GINGRICH: He was my best friend in high school and was my best friend for 33 years, till he died a couple of years ago. I had the wonderful experience on Monday, I was in Columbus, Georgia, and went back to met with my folks who graduated with me from Baker High School in 1961, and Jim's mom and dad were there and we chatted. In fact, there was a picture of Mrs. Tilton and me in the Atlanta paper yesterday morning. And it was a neat thing to be with them. And then Dr. Katrina Yielding was there, who had been our government teacher when Jim and I were in high school.
LAMB: Do you know where this picture was taken?
REP. GINGRICH: No.
LAMB: Did you have anything to say about using that picture?
REP. GINGRICH: They showed up and said, `We like this picture,' and I said,
`Fine.' I didn't they thought it looked sort of dramatic, like I wasmaking a speech and that they you know, Harper Collins are very, veryprofessional, and they know how to sell books. And they said, `That coverwill work,' and I said, `Fine. I don't have a clue about how you sell books.'
LAMB: Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House, is our guest, and this is what thecover of the book looks like. And the title is "To Renew America." And we
thank you for joining us.
REP. GINGRICH: Good to be here.
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