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Ex-Newsweek's Fineman Sees 'Megalomania' in Gingrich, Obama 'Political Fortune' Has 'Risen'

Appearing as a guest on Monday's Today show on NBC, the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman - also of MSNBC and formerly of Newsweek - hyperbolically referred to "megalomania" in GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in response to Gingrich's over the top comparison of Virginia's restrictive ballot access laws being like a Pearl Harbor attack on his campaign. Fineman:

Well, I guess accusing his fellow Republicans of being like Imperial Japan during the war is probably not a great way to endear himselfto his fellow Virginians, and that's part of the problem with Newt Gingrich. He has not only an air of self-confidence but sometimes practically a megalomania about the way he operates in politics...

The show did not delve into whether the GOP candidate had a legitimate complaint about Virginia's ballot access laws which will only include the names of two Republican presidential candidates on the ballot for the state's March 6 Republican primary.

And, in response to substitute co-anchor Savannah Guthrie's query as to whether President Obama's "political fortune" has "risen" since House Republicans agreed to the Senate compromise deal on a payroll tax cut extension, Fineman declared that there was "no question about it," and that the President "can't wait for another fight" with Republicans over the issue again in a few months.

Below are video and a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, December 26, Today show on NBC:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let's talk about that because Newt Gingrich, some of the polls show him losing some of the momentum he had weeks ago, and then there's this issue of his failing to get on the Virginia ballot. Does that say something larger about the campaign, the organization, about Gingrich as a candidate, and, in particular, his comparison to Pearl Harbor, failure to get signatures for the Virginia ballot, comparing it to a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor?

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: Well, I guess accusing his fellow Republicans of being like Imperial Japan during the war is probably not a great way to endear himself to his fellow Virginians, and that's part of the problem with Newt Gingrich. He has not only an air of self-confidence but sometimes practically a megalomania about the way he operates in politics, and he has not focused on the ground game. He didn't do it in Iowa, which is going to hurt him there even as he fades in popularity, he hasn't done it in other states. He has a wave theory of politics that somehow he's the man for the time. Well, he was the man for a few weeks ago but that's not a big enough wave to carry him forward.

...

GUTHRIE: Quickly, President Obama perceived as the winner in last week's dust-up with Congress over the payroll tax cut extension. Has his political fortune risen in these last days?

FINEMAN: No question about it, and he can't wait for another fight over the payroll tax with the Republicans in the spring.

-Brad Wilmouth is a news analyst at the Media Research Center