Rich Galen

Most of the segment had to do with Iraq. Newt has, from the earliest days, been very vocal about his belief that having had Ambassador Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, be the face of government for the Iraqi people was a grave mistake.

Gingrich is, at base, an historian (PhD from Tulane University) and a teacher. He cites sources and does his homework.

He told Tim Russert about a presentation prepared by a Marine captain, Travis Patriquin, about how to win the war in al Anbar province, "which," Newt said to Russert, "I'm going to send you personally:"

"He did a stick figure briefing on how to win in Al Anbar [in which] he said, 'Look, there are sheiks in Al Anbar who've been the local power structure on for 1300 years and they know how to run the place. They know how to track down the bad guys. They know what to do.

'And a bunch of 26-year-olds come in with Bremer and write a law that said, 'The sheiks are irrelevant. We now represent modernity.' And we've now spent three years not knowing what we're doing, not knowing who the bad guys are, not knowing who the good guys are."

Captain Patriquin was killed earlier this month by an Improvised Explosive Device - an IED.

You don't have to like Newt to respect his talent and intellect. Every politician who is scheduled to (or ever hopes to) appear on Meet the Press should watch the tape of Newt's performance.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the presentation prepared by Captain Patriquin, and to the transcript of Newt's appearance; a Mullfoto which nearly got me arrested on the Pentagon grounds and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at