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Chafee Has Company in Gingrich

 Linc Chafee, it appears, is not the only(Gin)grinch. From Politico:

Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich waged a quiet war on Christmas — or at least the Capitol Christmas Tree — shortly after becoming speaker of the House in 1995.

In a time of heightened political correctness, Gingrich preferred “Holiday Tree” over “Christmas Tree,” according to sources familiar with the annual tree-lighting ceremony at the foot of the Capitol.

“In 1995, the then-speaker of the House changed the name,” said one source familiar with the history of the nomenclature.

The Office of the Architect of the Capitol has no record of official correspondence from Gingrich or his aides on the matter, but people who worked in the office at the time recall the name-change mandate coming from Gingrich’s office, the source said.

Bill Ensign, who was the architect when Mack trucks delivered the 1995 tree to the Capitol grounds, told the conservative Republican Study Committee in 2005 that he didn’t make the call.

“Although I have an idea of why the name change occurred, I can tell you the change did not originate in the Architect of the Capitol’s office, it was handed down from somewhere else,” Ensign told the RSC, according to an internal memo obtained by POLITICO.

It was the RSC, and specifically Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who prodded House Speaker Dennis Hastert to ask the AOC to change the name back in 2005, prompting some aides who remember the discussion to credit Cantor, the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress, with “saving Christmas.”

A Gingrich presidential campaign spokesman did not immediately answer questions about why Gingrich wanted the name changed and whether he was disappointed that Hastert switched the name back in 2005.

But last week, Gingrich Productions Tweeted a “holiday dash” deal on copies of the former speaker’s book “To Try Men’s Souls” — avoiding the Christmas construction altogether. No flip-flop here.

 

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