Coburn won't support Gingrich
BY JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau
Sunday, December 11, 2011
12/11/11 at 8:17 AM
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn is not inclined to support Newt Gingrich for president.
But the normally verbose Oklahoma Republican does not want to talk about it.
Given the history the two men share, Gingrich probably should just declare some sort of victory or at least consider himself lucky that Coburn is not doing more to knock him off his current front-runner perch in the Republican presidential primary.
In the past, the Oklahoma Republican certainly did more than withhold his support.
In 1997 Gingrich was House speaker, the man who had led the Republicans out of the political wilderness and into the majority for the first time in 40 years.
Coburn was only in his second two-year term in the House.
But that lack of experience did not stop the physician-turned-politician from becoming one of the leaders in an attempted coup to force Gingrich out of his speakership.
Indeed, in his 2003 book, "Breach of Trust," Coburn blamed himself for dooming the coup against Gingrich by blurting out that the new speaker was not going to be the No. 2 House leader from Texas but another member from New York.
Asked during a recent appearance on Fox News Sunday about Gingrich, Coburn said he was not inclined to support Gingrich for president.
"I just found his leadership lacking and I'm not going to go into greater detail,'' he said.
Coburn described Gingrich as "brilliant'' but made it clear he has no plans to revise his opinion about his former leader even if he makes it to the White House.
"I will have difficulty supporting him as president of the United States,'' the senator said.
He was less reticent in his book in which he wrote that Gingrich often was not interested in listening to others, especially outsiders, and was willing to trade political principles for short-term political gain.
After a government shutdown that is seen as a pivotal point in the so-called Republican revolution, Coburn wrote that Gingrich went from invincible to a whipped dog who barked but cowered in the presence of then-President Bill Clinton.
Original Print Headline: Coburn is silent on Gingrich
Jim Myers 202-484-1424
Tom Coburn: He has little to say about Gingrich, stating only that he found the former House speaker's "leadership lacking."