Some Democrats are worried about former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's rapid and apparently enduring rise in the Republican presidential polls. Fellow former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn't one of them. After serving in Congress with Newt from 1987 to 1999, "I know a lot about him," Pelosi told Talking Points Memo. "I served on the investigative committee that investigated him" for tax and campaign-finance violations in the late 1990s. And I'll divulge details "when the time's right." Gingrich thanked Pelosi for an "early Christmas gift," then shot back with a threat of his own: Leaking sealed House Ethics records would open Pelosi to an ethics investigation. Gingrich is already taking flak from GOP rivals for appearing in a friendly climate change ad with Pelosi in 2008. Will Pelosi's threat hurt him even more — or will it backfire on the Democrat?
This could cost Newt loads of GOP supporters: "The mere thought that Newt has even more baggage on the carousel of politics is enough" to lose my vote, says Don Surber in the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. "He is already over the weight limit for baggage," and even if Pelosi is bluffing, Gingrich has made plenty of well-placed enemies on both sides of the aisle. Ironically, Pelosi's "fair warning may be doing Republicans a big favor," by encouraging them to ditch Newt before it's too late.
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But Gingrich can easily defuse this bomb: There are certainly ways that damaging, sealed information can come out where "Pelosi's hands will be unstained by the leak," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. And that will likely happen, conveniently at the most opportune time for Obama. But if Gingrich demanded that the House "unseal all of the records from that investigation" as soon as possible, it would "defuse that threat entirely and allow Gingrich to take the high road."
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This hurts Pelosi, too: The Democrat is making herself look "foolish," says Bryan Preston at PJ Media. She can't reveal anything she learned on the ethics panel without getting into trouble. Her silly threat only gives Newt a "Get Out of Ethical Jail Free card" — letting him blame all attacks on him as the work of Pelosi. Remember, many Republicans view Pelosi as "the most toxic member of Congress." Her latest gambit could very well rally Republicans to Newt's side.
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