At a KMBZ luncheon in Overland Park, KS, Friday afternoon, former House Speaker Newt Ginrich described the president’s behavior at Democrat Speaker Tom Foley’s memorial service, held last Saturday.
“Bill Clinton sits there – he waved at me once, Gingrich began, noting (to much laughter and applause) that he waved at his wife Calista three times. “Obama was sort of staring at the ceiling – enduring the time he had to spend with mere mortals.”
He went on compare and contrast the men’s speeches.
Clinton gave a fine, entertaining speech – “a perfect Clinton performance and you were totally absorbed…” and then “Obama got up and gave a relatively wooden speech”, Gingrich said. “I suddenly realized watching the two of them in such a short time – Clinton felt your pain….Obama would like you to feel his pain.”
“To be under our constitutional system, a president has to be able to work with Congress,” Gingrich continued. “Clinton understood this. He’d been a governor – he had spent 12 years dealing with legislatures. We would fight all morning and then we’d negotiate all afternoon.” What the current president does, Gingrich declared, is he “fights all morning, and then golfs.”
“He has zero capacity to understand the other person”, Gingrich explained. “You can’t learn the city of Washington from Mount Olympus.”
(Listen for the audio. I was sitting on a far side of the room, with no clear view of the former speaker.)