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About (Late) Last Night: John Lithgow recites Newt Gingrich's dramatic news release [Video]

May 20, 2011 |  9:13 am


Presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich has had a tough week. He's been accused of racism for calling Barack Obama the "most successful food stamp president in history," lambasted by fellow Republicans after harshly criticizing Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) plans for Medicare privatization and even got "glitter bombed" by a protester in Minneapolis.

On Thursday, Gingrich's press secretary Rick Tyler struck back with a grandiose news release that sounded a little like the opening monologue from "Patton." "Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world," it read. "The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness."

The vivid statement immediately provoked jeers from the media, who called it "florid," "medieval" and "overwritten." Though MSNBC's Rachel Maddow spoofed Gingrich with a Photoshop collage, "The Colbert Report" provided the night's finest moment of satire.

Host Stephen Colbert prepared to read Gingrich's news release in full, but then reconsidered. "You know what? I don't think I've got it in me to properly convey the epic genius of this verbal spiking," he claimed. In his stead was Tony- and Emmy-winning actor John Lithgow, who performed a dramatic, verbatim reading of the statement. Watch the hysterical results above, starting at the 3:40 mark.

-- Meredith Blake