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Who does Newt want to kill?


Last night’s debate provided yet another example of Gingrich’s firm grasp of history:

We’re in South Carolina. South Carolina in the Revolutionary War had a young 13-year-old named Andrew Jackson. He was sabred by a British officer and wore a scar his whole life. Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear-cut idea about America’s enemies: Kill them.

He was in South Carolina and had just related an anecdote about Andrew Jackson, so I can see why he’d quote Andrew as the Jacksonian source of the “Kill them!” quotation. Only Andrew Jackson didn’t say it—Stonewall Jackson did. Accounts as to who he said it to vary, but the circumstances in which he said it don’t. Union forces greatly outnumbered Southern forces at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and shortly after the death of Brigadier General Maxcy Gregg, someone asked Jackson how the Confederate forces could win. He responded

Kill them, sir! Kill every man!

Which, of course, refers to the Union soldiers. So America’s enemies are, by Gingrich’s account, other Americans. (Most likely Democrats.) There’s the possibility that his error represents an eleventh dimensional dog-whistle blown for the benefit of the strong neo-Confederate presence in South Carolina, but I somehow doubt it.

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