Tony Blankley
One would be hard-pressed to find a better example of sheer misguided reporting than the story in The Washington Post last weekend in which it was reported that "Newt Gingrich thinks he can revive his debilitated campaign by talking about Alzheimer's. ... For most presidential candidates, Alzheimer's is a third- or fourth-tier subject, at best. But as Gingrich sees it, Alzheimer's, as well as other niche topics such as military families' concerns and pharmaceutical issues, are priorities. ... By offering himself as a champion of pet causes, Gingrich believes he can sew together enough narrow constituencies to make a coalition -- an unconventional one, yes, but a coalition nevertheless."

Now, I admit, Newt is my old boss, and I am a friend and great admirer of Newt's -- so I am hardly an unbiased source. But I also happen to be pretty familiar with Newt's public ideas over the years.

And to read the article in question, one would think that Newt thought up this little "niche" Alzheimer's issue a couple of weeks ago -- just in time for his revived campaign. Well, in fact, I remember Newt talking to me about the coming crisis in Alzheimer's disease back in the 1990s. And in 2007, the Alzheimer's Association, along with the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, called for the creation of the Alzheimer's Study Group. Newt was named co-chairman (along with former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey).

On March 20, 2009, they reported back to the Democratic-controlled Senate. Newt and study group member and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. You should watch the hearing from C-SPAN's archives. Newt's testimony was brilliant. Senators -- both Democratic and Republican -- asked Newt question after question and were enthralled with his deep understanding of the issue. Newt even offered, spontaneously in the hearing, an explanation of the unique challenges of the mathematical processes in Alzheimer's research.

Although the reporter of the article last weekend obviously doesn't know, Alzheimer's is not a "niche" issue.

The bipartisan study Newt co-chaired reported that unless there are breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and reduction in the rate of Alzheimer's, Medicare and Medicaid will spend nearly $20 trillion on the treatment and care of the disease by the middle of the century -- $1 trillion a year by 2050.


Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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