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Newt Gingrich may be running high in the polls, but it seems every day there’s another conservative commentator bashing him in newspapers or on radio and TV.
The most recent was Michael Savage, a San Francisco-based radio personality whose motto is “borders, language, culture,” and whose nationally syndicated talk show “The Savage Nation” has an estimated audience of 8 to 10 million.
Savage on Monday offered Gingrich $1 million to exit the Republican presidential primary race within 72 hours.
Among his reasons for opposing Gingrich’s candidacy, Savage cited the former House speaker’s work as a paid consultant for Freddie Mac, and his marital history.
“He’s cheated on two wives and left both of them when they were seriously ill, which will destroy his chances among female voters,” Savage wrote in the offer, which he posted to his website.
In a debate against President Obama, Gingrich will “look like nothing more than what he is: a fat, old, white man.”
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond dismissed the offer.
“We learned a long time ago not to swat at gnats,” Hammond said. “We will keep our focus on giving GOP voters the best possible choice to defeat President Obama.”
But Gingrich’s upstart candidacy has brought with it an oddly united front of commentators from across the conservative spectrum who have voiced serious concerns about the candidate.
In newspapers, Gingrich has been cast as an unpredictable ego with a tendency toward self-destruction.
A Gingrich candidacy is “a walk on the wild side,” warned Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan.
"He is a human hand grenade who walks around with his hand on the pin, saying, 'Watch this!'," Noonan wrote.
George Will, declaring that Gingrich and Mitt Romney are “too risky to anoint today,” wrote in the Washington Post that Gingrich is “a bull who carries his own china shop around with him.”
In the New York Times, David Brooks wrote that Gingrich “has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ‘60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He just has those traits in Republican form."
And the critiques go beyond the op-ed pages of mainstream newspapers.
Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck have each suggested that Gingrich is a no-go for the small-government conservatives who have powered the tea party movement.
Coulter, in an op-ed for the Daily Caller, recounted how Gingrich began giving “a series of Fidel Castro-style speeches about ‘the Third Wave information revolution,’” when he won the speakership in 1994.
“Not only were they completely crazy, but Newt’s grand schemes didn’t quite fit the Republican model of a small, unintrusive federal government,” Coulter wrote.
Beck has described Gingrich as “the only candidate I can’t vote for.”
“He makes Mitt Romney look like a small government guy,” Beck said in an interview with Fox’s Andrew Napolitano.
Still, some have been willing to defend Gingrich's record, if not his personality.
“Who was the last person to actually cut government?” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show last week. “Who was the last person who actually led a movement that balanced the federal budget?...That’s right, it was Mr. Newt!...The last time there was true welfare reform, the last time government was cut, Gingrich did it.”
It’s a point that was echoed today by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who argued that while Gingrich may be “an ideological train wreck and the worst manager this side of Barack Obama,” his Congress balanced the federal budget for the first time in a generation, kept it balanced for four years in a row, and passed welfare reform.
“Consider that Gingrich did all three over the strenuous objections of Bill Clinton and the Democrats in Congress and you begin to understand the affinity that conservatives who don’t know Gingrich have for Gingrich,” Scarborough wrote.