16 August 2003

7.30 Report | Snark of the Week:
KERRY O'BRIEN: Former Republican speaker Newt Gingrich is on the Pentagon advisory board.

As you well know, he's been vehement in his attacks on the State Department and by implication you and Colin Powell.

What's behind that, what's motivating him?

[US Deputy Secretary of State] RICHARD ARMITAGE: I think he wants to do to the State Department what he almost did to the Republican Party.

No-one can get inside his mind.

I made a rather facetious comment that got good airplay and I think I'll let it stay at that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: That he'd run out of his medication?

RICHARD ARMITAGE: I said he was off his meds and out of therapy.

His main accusation against the Secretary of State and the Department of State was that we weren't trying to pursue the President's policy and nothing is more outrageous.

We're exactly on the President's policy as George W Bush would be glad to say.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is it any more than that kind of traditional argument between muscle and diplomacy, right now to the point where even Colin Powell's trip to Syria to Damascus to see President Assad has been criticised because Assad still has links to terrorist groups?

RICHARD ARMITAGE: The same gentleman, and I use the term lightly, Newt Gingrich who levelled the criticism against the secretary was critical of the trip to Syria.

You don't think that trip to Syria happened without the blessing and indeed urging of the President, do you?

It's been a while since I found any decent vitriol, so I thought I'd run with this one.

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