After defending his book arrangement for months, Speaker Newt Gingrich admitted Friday that he “totally mishandled” the original deal that would have brought him a $4.5 million advance.
Gingrich said he was “very naive” when he permitted a bidding war for his two-book deal, commenting, “They came up with a number that was crazy. No public official could be in that position.”
Appearing on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Gingrich said that from the beginning, he should have insisted on the $1 advance that he accepted after howls of protest from friends and foes alike.
“We totally mishandled the first phase of talking of writing a book,” he said of the deal with HarperCollins, a publisher owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch. “The whole thing was terrible.”
Gingrich last week submitted his proposed contract to the House ethics committee. He termed the deal a standard arrangement that would earn him 15 percent royalties on hardback sales, 7.5 percent for soft covers and 10 percent to 12 percent for audio tapes.
The speaker’s appearance followed a speech in New York, where he accused the news media of engaging in “despicable demagoguery” - depicting Republicans as taking food out of the mouths of schoolchildren.
The Washington press corps, lobbyists and liberals have been “shamelessly lying and exploiting children” to save bureaucrats’ jobs, the House speaker told more than 1,000 New York City government, business and civic leaders.
“It is shameful when the major newspapers of this country repeat routinely the lies of liberals who are saving the bureaucrats by using the children,” he said.
The GOP leader said Congress is increasing the school lunch program by 4.5 percent and increasing aid to women and children above Clinton administration projections.