UPDATE: This was incredible. This was a high-point of the 2012 campaign season. My live-Slog cannot entirely convey how crazy this speech was, but it was packed with science fiction: Holograms in the home, space travel, nanotechnology. Gingrich lamented that he wouldn't live long enough to see the moon base. Let's all just stop for a moment and savor this moment; speeches like this don't come around every day.

ORIGINAL POST: I'm watching on CNN.com. This oughta be fun.

12:03 PM: Of course, it'll start late because Newt Gingrich is always late. It's just one of the annoying tendencies he shares with Bill Clinton. I blame the entire baby boomer generation for that, obviously. Classic narcissism.

12:10 PM: Oh my God. If you announce a press conference at 3 pm, fucking show up at 3 pm, Newt. What is he doing back there? Weeping uncontrollably? Waiting for word that he somehow won the primaries after all? Trying to squeeze in a visit to one more zoo?

12:12 PM: Okay, now the feed has sound, which presumably means he's taking the stage sometime soon.

12:13 PM: And here he is, finally, with Calllista in tow. "You know, just about a year ago, on May 11th, we formally announced our candidacy," he begins. "It has been an amazing year for Callista and me." Us, too, Newt!

12:15 PM: Newt thanks all his donors, and a bunch of people nobody knows. He thanks his friend, saying "I think we helped co-invent C-SPAN." It's an Al Gore moment! "I could never have predicted either the low points or the high points," he says. One of his high points was carrying his home state of Georgia with 60% of the vote. He says Rick Perry stuck with him, as Perry said, "until the cows come home." That's a pretty Perry-ish statement. He also thanks Herman Cain, Todd Palin, and his sugar daddy, Sheldon Adelson. "We share a combined concern about the Middle East."

12:20 PM: He thanks South Carolina, adding that he's upset that he has broken the South Carolina tradition of picking the Republican nominee. "Today, I am suspending the campaign, but suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship."

HAPPIER TIMES: Heres Newt after his speech in Federal Way back in February. He had Secret Service coverage back then, hilariously.
  • Paul Constant
  • HAPPIER TIMES: Here's Newt after his speech in Federal Way back in February. He had Secret Service coverage back then, hilariously.
12:21 PM: Gingrich says he's devoted his career to three things: Changing America, explaining to the American people why America needs changing, and actually moving ahead with the process of changing America. One could argue that that's really one thing, but what the hell: It's Newt's quinceañera, we'll let it slide. Now he's listing every one of his accomplishments, which is taking a surprisingly long time.

12:22 PM: This is basically a blowhardy version of Gingrich wagging his fist at the press and bellowing "YOU'LL ALL BE SORRY! I AM A GENIUS!" He quotes a favorable column published today that posits Gingrich's best days are ahead of him. I think he might start literally masturbating in a minute or two, because all this figurative masturbation is obviously getting him hot. Gingrich says he's going to work on energy independence. "If we do it right, we actually will not only create energy independence...we will create trillions of dollars in royalties" to help reduce the national debt. Gingrich also promises to go to college campuses to encourage Social Security privitization, as they do in Chile, and he wants to "re-emphasize the work ethic." There's no reason, Gingrich says, to give people pay for 99 weeks "for doing nothing." That's his legacy, right there.

12:27 PM: Gingrich will also focus on "what a post-Obamacare" health care system would be like. He points out that he's the "longest-serving teacher of one-and-two star generals." I have no idea what that means. "I think it's time to realize we do not have a grand strategy" in dealing with the Middle East, he says. Now he's talking about nanotechnology. "I am cheerfully going to take back up" the issue of outer space. He says Callista has pointed out "approximately 219 times," give or take 3 times, that talking about the moon base was a mistake. "This is not a trivial area," he says. Space is about the future. "I happen to think it's a better future than methamphetamine and cocaine" for our nation's children. He's turning into a cartoon mad scientist, which is adorable.

12:30 PM: Another issue Gingrich wants to pursue is a "21st century Congress." That means he and Callista have to campaign for a Republican president, a Republican Congress, and all the other races. "As to the presidency, I am asked if Mitt Romney is conservative enough." He says "compared to Barack Obama?" Romney, he says, is more conservative than "the most radical leftist" president in American history. Romney's calls to cut spending, to balance the budget, to work with Paul Ryan on the "entitlement crisis" are all conservative issues he will support "cheerfully."

12:33 PM: "A Republican sweep this fall" is his goal, because he thinks it will be akin to a Reagan revolution. The economy will turn around on election night, when business realizes Barack Obama is no longer in office. "I'm not totally certain I will get to the moon colony" in his lifetime, Gingrich says, but his grandchildren will. He says they will resolve the problems of autism, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. He also says they will have "holograms at home." He knows this "because I have written three novels on George Washington" and four novels about the Civil War. The Germans and Japanese in World War II "grotesquely underestimated us," Gingrich says, and the Chinese think they will somehow beat us, too. "I don't believe it," Gingrich says. "With every great challenge, Americans have reinvented themselves."

12:36 PM: Gingrich says "the 21st century will be the third century of American exceptionalism." And then he's out. Wow. I don't know who he fellated more: America, Reagan, or himself. That was a fantastic speech packed with self-worship and batshit concepts. Outside of Herman Cain coming out and doing the Humpty Dance with Gingrich, I don't think that could have been any better. Sweet dreams, Newt Gingrich. It will be way less interesting without you in this race.