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Newt Gingrich was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning and made one whopper of a gaff that I doubt most people even realized (certainly not Senator Dodd whom he was lecturing, nor apparently host Tim Russert), comparing waning U.S. support for the Iraqi government to French support of the Colonists during the Revolutionary war:

Newt: […] “Prime Minister Maliki [of Iraq] is doing the best he can in a chaotic environment, and he’s not a very strong person, but if– ­imagine we were the French in the 1700s, debating the American Continental Congress and saying, “Well, should we really send aid to these guys? I mean, they can’t even hold- you know, they’ve retreated to Lancaster. They’re not even in Philadelphia. They’ve lost New York. George Washington’s lost all these campaigns. This guy Washington has no major victories. I mean, why are we sending money over there?

The former speaker may have written three books about the U.S. Civil War, but apparently he needs a refresher course on the “American Revolutionary War”. Now, if I remember my American history (and I DO), isn’t this EXACTLY what the French did do? They refused to support the Colonists… despite repeated pleas by Benjamin Franklin who was dispatched to France to beg the French Parliament to help the Colonists defeat their mutual enemy: England… until Gen. Washington proved he could win a few battles against the British. Washington had lost every encounter with the Redcoats until a *sneak attack* on Christmas Eve resulted in the capture of 1,000 Hessians (remember the famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware? That was the infamous Xmas Eve raid).

Digital History” describes it thusly:

“Washington had only 6,000 troops whose terms of enlistment were set to expire in January 1777. But on Christmas Eve, 2,400 of his soldiers crossed the icy Delaware River and attacked British outposts in New Jersey. At Trenton, where German mercenaries were groggy from their Christmas celebration, Washington’s troops captured 1,000 Hessians. Then they defeated British forces at Princeton, leading the British to redeploy their troops close to New York City, leaving the region’s Loyalists at the mercy of the patriots.

In 1777, the British launched another offensive, designed to split New England off from the rest of the colonies. While one British army marched south from Montreal, another was to march northward from New York City. The northern army was defeated at the battle of Saratoga, 30 miles north of Albany, N.Y., and 5,000 British soldiers surrendered.

The Battle of Saratoga was a crucial military turning point. The American victory over General Burgoyne’s army convinced the French to publicly support the patriot cause.

PS: Someone might also remind Newt the next time he wants to make a “Revolutionary War” analogy… WE were the insurgents.

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