I think a definitive answer was provided by the late Robert Novak in his priceless memoir, The Prince of Darkness, on pp. 530-1, wherein he described Newt’s rage over a column Novak had written taking him to task for “regressing to his Rockefeller Republican roots” and failing to attack racial quotas. This occurred at a small American Spectator dinner on July 27, 1995. “David Brock, then still a supposed conservative working for the Spectator, was there,” Novak writes, “and later described Gingrich ‘flying into a red-faced, table-pounding rage’ at me.”
Novak wrote the incident up in a subsequent column, noting how “infuriated” Newt said he was by his earlier “column on affirmative action,” and adding: “He does fear alienating such blacks as his Georgia Congressional colleague and fighter for civil rights in the ’60s, Rep. John Lewis, and warned against instilling apprehension about ‘resegregation.'”
I was there that night and recall the angry Newt pleading, “What do I say to John Lewis?” I distinctly remember thinking that in Newt’s view, doing away with affirmative action would be like doing away with the civil rights movement. He wasn’t going to go there. No sir, not someone so intensely sensitive to black sensibilities. Who says Newt can’t show empathy?
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