Phil Weiss caught this before me, but I think it’s relevant to ask what a President Gingrich would do if multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, by far the biggest contributor to Gingrich’s Super-PAC, Winning Our Future, asked him to do something on Bibi Netanyahu’s behalf that Newt might not think is in the U.S. national interest?
That’s the question that is raised implicitly — but, unfortunately, not followed up on — by the quick exchange aired on ABC’s “Rock Center” between Ted Koppel and Gingrich:
- TED KOPPEL: But what do these multimillionaires expect [from contributing to super-PACs]?
NEWT GINGRICH: They want their candidate to win.
KOPPEL: But there has to be a ‘so what?’ at the end of that. If you win, what does Adelson get out of it?
GINGRICH: He knows I’m very pro-Israel. And that’s the central value of his life. He is very worried that Israel’s going to not survive.
Perhaps this helps explain some of Gingrich’s more-outrageous statements during the campaign, such as his reference to Palestinians as “terrorists” and an “invented people” and his call for the U.S. to join with Israel in any conventional attack on Iranian nuclear facilities (to ensure that Israel doesn’t use its nuclear weapons in such a strike). It also suggests that, at least insofar as he’s been able to communicate with Gingrich, Adelson’s top priority is Israel, not his hostility for labor unions and devotion to private enterprise, as some have suggested. Israel is the number one issue for him. And, so, if Netanyahu (or Lieberman) wanted to cleanse all those “terrorists” from the West Bank and asked Adelson to press a Pres. Gingrich not to object and to veto any UN Security Council resolution that might condemn such actions, and a new government in Egypt and Jordan’s King Hussein threatened to tear up their respective peace treaties with Israel, how would the former speaker react?
Mitchell wrote more about the Adelson-Gingrich connection here just last week.
Watch Gingrich’s response to Koppel’s questions below: