In today's "Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight" segment, ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday once again failed miserably in a battle of wits with Newt Gingrich.
After the This Week host claimed past experience has shown long primary battles "[mean] that party loses in the general election," the former Speaker of the House marvelously responded, "George, I'll be glad to swap history credentials with you" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Mr. Speaker, there's really no way for you to get enough delegates before the convention, so this, as you said, could be a long fight if it's going to be successful for you. When we have seen this happen in the past -- 1952 for the Democrats, 1976 for the Republicans, 1980 for the Democrats -- it means that party loses in the general election. Are you worried that this kind of long fight is going to put your nominee at risk?
GINGRICH: No. George, I'll be glad to swap history credentials with you. Four years ago, I believe it was, that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went all the way to late June before their race ended. And yet that seemed to actually be more advantageous to then-Senator Obama than Senator McCain having gotten the nomination early. So I think it all depends on which year you're talking about and how it evolves, what happens.
Irrespective of Gingrich's far superior knowledge of history - he does after all possess numerous degrees including a Ph.D having written dozens of books on the subject - this really was a pretty pathetic question from Stephanopoulos given what happened in the previous presidential election.
There isn't a political observer on either side of the aisle who doesn't agree that the long drawn out Democratic battle between Obama and Clinton didn't tremendously help the current White House resident.
In fact, the first quarter 2008 junior senator from Illinois would never have fared as well in debates with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as the third and fourth quarter iteration.
As such, all this talk about a long Republican battle this year hurting the eventual nominee is a mixture of wishful thinking on the part of folks like Stephanopoulos and predictable historical ignorance.