Fundamentally: Newt Gingrich’s Favorite Word

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Newt Gingrich.Photo: Richard Ellis/Getty Images

By now, we've all become familiar with Newt Gingrich's habit of using a few choice adverbs to make the things he says sound just a bit more intelligent to his listeners. Profoundly. Deeply. Frankly. But none of them are as vital to the Gingrich lexicon as fundamentally (along with its cousin, the adjective fundamental). While this appears to be Gingrich's favorite word in the English language, you could also argue that he uses the word so often, and so reflexively, that it's become virtually meaningless to him. In a single 2008 address to the American Enterprise Institute, he used the words fundamentally or fundamental a total of eighteen times.

Newt Gingrich, you might say, is the world's most hard-core fundamentalist.

To give you a more complete understanding of how compulsively Gingrich abuses his favorite words, I searched Nexis transcripts and news accounts with the goal of plucking out every single phrase in which he uttered them. I started in the present day, and made it all the way to the beginning of 2007 before I had to stop, for my own health and sanity, which, according to my editors, was beginning to suffer in noticeable ways. The list below contains only unique usages — for example, if he said the phrase "fundamental change" five different times, we only included it once — and, obviously, we only included remarks that were public and recorded in some way. Scroll onward, if you dare, to behold all loosely alphabetized 418 entries. (We've bolded our favorites.)

"fundamentally a falsehood"
"fundamentally a lie"
"fundamentally a violation of international law"
"fundamentally about reassessing our entire strategy in the region"
"fundamentally across the entire system"
"fundamentally against the American tradition"
"fundamentally alien to American tradition"
"fundamentally alien to historical American experience"
"fundamental analytical question "
"fundamental and certain"
"fundamental and more profound"
"fundamentally and radically change"
"fundamentally anti-America and certainly anti-American government"
"fundamentally anti-America"
"fundamental approach to fixing Medicare"
"fundamental assault on the core values of the American Constitution and a fundamental assault on the core values of the Founding Fathers"
"fundamentally better future"
"fundamental blow to our capacity to lead the world and to create jobs"
"fundamentally break his word with the American people"
"fundamentally break the Senate"
"fundamental break with the last eight years"
"fundamental breakthrough"
"fundamental breakthroughs"
"fundamental breakthrough in Alzheimer's"
"fundamental breakthrough in the Royal Navy's ability to go around the world"
"fundamentally broken"
"fundamentally brought about improvement"
"fundamentally center power in Washington"
"fundamentally challenge the survival of America as we have known it"
"fundamentally challenge the survival of America as we know it"
"fundamental challenges"
"fundamental change"
"fundamental change, which created what we now think of as modern government"
"fundamental change from twenty years ago"
"fundamental change if we're ever going to win the war on terror"
"fundamental change in our policies and in our institutions"
"fundamental change in the Budget Act”
"fundamental change in the payment system"
"fundamental change in Washington"
"fundamental change it takes to rebuild America"
"fundamentally change a state like this by having a shallow campaign"
"fundamentally change America"
"fundamentally change America is really hard"
"fundamentally change his foreign policy"
"fundamentally change how we're doing things"
"fundamentally change in education even if it made the unions uncomfortable"
"fundamentally change Medicare"
"fundamentally change our system as we know it"
"fundamentally change people's behavior"
"fundamentally change that is to go step by step"
"fundamentally change the city"
"fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America
"fundamentally change the current congressional behaviors"
"fundamentally change the government"
"fundamentally change the rules"
"fundamentally change the state"
"fundamentally change the system"
"fundamentally change the trajectory of America
"fundamentally change the trajectory of America"
"fundamentally change the trajectory of care"
"fundamentally change the underlying system"
"fundamentally change the way we deliver — and administer — care"
"fundamentally changed the Iowa constitution"
"fundamentally changed the mood of the Republican party and he fundamentally changed the story of 2008."
"fundamentally changed the national debate."
"fundamentally changes America in ways that will make it unrecognizable"
"fundamentally changes American life."
"fundamental changes that are big enough"
"fundamental changes they deserve"
"fundamentally changing our space policy"
"fundamentally changing unemployment compensation"
"fundamentally changing Washington in a decisive way"
"fundamentally cheating"
"fundamental choice for America"
"fundamental choice here"
"fundamental choice to make in this election"
"fundamental choices about our future as a people and as a nation."
"fundamental conflict with Shari'a"
"fundamental contract renegotiation with their unions"
"fundamental conversation as a country"
"fundamental conversation that begins I believe with American exceptionalism"
"fundamental cultural change"
"fundamental cultural decision for this country to decide"
"fundamentally dangerous"
"fundamental debate"
"fundamental debate for the next three years"
"fundamentally decentralizing it"
"fundamental, deep rethinking of our education programs"
"fundamentally destroying jobs and fundamentally weakening our economic future"
"fundamental difference about strategy"
"fundamental difference between the modern world"
"fundamental difference between trying to solve the problems of this country from the top down"
"fundamental difference in how you think about doing this."
"fundamental difference with me"
"fundamental differences here"
"fundamental differences in America's future”
"fundamental differences in Gallup data"
"fundamental differences with Fidel Castro?"
"fundamental different analysis of how reality works"
"fundamentally different America."
"fundamentally different and they mature and change"
"fundamentally different approach than just this fighting over insurance"
"fundamentally different approach to being positive"
"fundamentally different attitude"
"fundamentally different campaign than my staff did"
"fundamentally different environmental solutions agency"
"fundamentally different from anything you've seen"
"fundamentally different from the historic America"
"fundamentally different he was from the news media's portrait of him"
"fundamentally different in cooperating with business"
"fundamentally different model than Albany and Sacramento"
"fundamentally different model"
"fundamentally different models"
"fundamentally different model, a fundamentally different culture and a fundamentally different approach"
"fundamentally different question"
"fundamentally different should trouble every American"
"fundamentally different standards"
"fundamentally different than America has been for the last 400 years"
"fundamentally different than his words"
"fundamentally different than the kind of phony stimulus approach"
"fundamentally different than the tea party"
"fundamentally different than the way the modern left thinks about America."
"fundamentally different than the way Washington thinks"
"fundamentally different than us, in ways we don't understand"
"fundamentally different than Washington thinks about"
"fundamentally different that it is literally irreconcilable with modernity"
"fundamentally different theories of how the economy works"
"fundamentally different today"
"fundamentally different view of how politics works"
"fundamentally different view, Greta"
"fundamentally different visions of America"
"fundamentally disagree with Senator Obama"
"fundamental disagreement"
"fundamentally dishonest"
"fundamentally dishonest and fundamentally dangerous"
"fundamentally dishonest and impossible to implement"
"fundamentally dishonest bills"
"fundamentally dishonest he is"
"fundamentally dishonest her position is.
"fundamentally dishonest pattern"
"fundamentally dishonest the liberal media was"
"fundamentally dishonest way"
“fundamental dishonesty"
"fundamental dishonesty of that machine"
"fundamental dishonesty of the system"
"fundamentally disrupt it"
"fundamentally disrupting and replacing the left in Washington, D.C."
"fundamental disservice to the American people"
"fundamental disservice to the country"
"fundamental disservice to the United States"
"fundamental division between most Americans and the secular socialist people around Obama"
"fundamentally edifying experience so far"
"fundamental educational campaign"
"fundamentally eliminating right to work"
"fundamental error in its conception"
"fundamentally exceptional system for human liberty"
"fundamental fact here"
"fundamental facts"
"fundamentally, factually wrong."
"fundamentally false model of American government"
"fundamentally false speech"
"fundamentally false"
"fundamental fight with the party of big government"
"fundamentally flawed"
"fundamentally flawed system"
"fundamentally flawed understanding of reality"
"fundamentally flawed way of running this country"
"fundamentally goes against everything we know"
"fundamentally, he's not up to the job"
"fundamentally how to reformulate it"
"fundamental human values for millions and millions of people"
"fundamentally hurtful and so fundamentally false"
"fundamentally immoral for a society"
"fundamental impediment to freedom"
"fundamentally improved"
"fundamental improvements in government"
"fundamentally insist on changing large bureaucracies"
"fundamental institutional problem"
"fundamentally irresponsible and dishonest"
"fundamental issues that matter deeply to the future of the country"
"fundamental level change the power of the left"
"fundamental local changes"
"fundamentally look at the scale of the challenge we face"
"fundamentally make this country competitive and healthy"
"fundamentally misinterpreted the Constitution"
"fundamentally misleading about the nature of America"
"fundamentally misleading about the nature of reality and fundamentally misleading about the world"
"fundamentally misleading that it is damaging to our national security"
"fundamentally misleading the Senate"
"fundamentally misreading the economy"
"fundamental mistake"
"fundamental mistake about the nature of what you do in a country"
"fundamental mistake in Washington to misread the 1990s"
"fundamental mistake to focus on whether or not he is qualified"
"fundamental mistake made"
"fundamentally mistakes made"
"fundamental misunderstanding of television"
"fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics of the war that we're in"
"fundamental misunderstanding of the whole nature of intelligence"
"fundamental misunderstanding of warfare"
"fundamentally misunderstands the world"
"fundamentally misunderstands why institutions like this were created"
"fundamentally misunderstood what happened with the shutdown"
"fundamentally modernize the processes of the federal government"
"fundamentally, morally wrong"
"fundamental national conversation"
"fundamentally new approach to how we think about learning in America."
"fundamentally new contract with the union"
"fundamentally new models"
"fundamentally new tax code"
"fundamentally new thought"
"fundamentally not true"
"fundamental of all Islamic laws"
"fundamentally off-base in very profound ways"
"fundamentally opposed to Bush's policies."
"fundamentally opposite of everything"
"fundamentally opposite of the current FDA"
"fundamentally out of touch with America"
"fundamentally out of touch with how the world works"
"fundamentally out of touch with the reality of the real world"
"fundamentally out of whack about our whole process of choosing candidates"
"fundamentally outdated and should be put to rest."
"fundamental overhaul"
"fundamentally overhaul"
"fundamentally overall our learning system"
"fundamental overhaul of the tax system"
"fundamentally overhaul our learning system"
"fundamentally overhaul the national security system"
"fundamentally overhauling and changing the Federal Communications Commission"
"fundamentally overhauling the Corps of Engineers"
"fundamental part of the American constitutional system"
"fundamental personnel reform"
"fundamental philosophical basis for America"
"fundamental philosophy"
"fundamental policy change"
"fundamental problem"
"fundamental problems they have competing today"
"fundamental problems we have in our economy"
"fundamental, profound change”              
"fundamentally profoundly ignorantly anti-American the current judicial model is"
"fundamentally, profoundly change Washington"
"fundamentally, profoundly wrong"
"fundamental question about can we do it better"
"fundamental question of identity"
"fundamental question of the nature of America"
"fundamentally question the current social contract with Native Americans"
"fundamental questions"
"fundamental questions about how badly the system is failing"
"fundamental questions about this case"
"fundamental questions of morality"
"fundamental questions we have to rethink"
"fundamentally readdress as Americans"
"fundamental real change"
"fundamentally re-approach how we think about disabilities"
"fundamentally rearranging their lives"
"fundamentally re-center the system"
"fundamental reexamination of the war strategy and where we are"
"fundamental reform”
"fundamental reform candidate in the race”
"fundamental reform of the bureaucracy"
"fundamental reform of the Fed"
"fundamentally reform and overhaul the federal government — fundamentally — "
"fundamentally reform the Food and Drug Administration"
"fundamentally reform the government, they had to fundamentally change the rules so that people had more gasoline at a lower price"
"fundamentally reform the system"
"fundamentally reformed the Bureau of Land Management"
"fundamentally reformed the Department of the Interior"
"fundamental rejection of the establishment in both parties"
"fundamentally re-organize American politics"
"fundamentally replace a lot of failing systems"
"fundamentally replace our core values"
"fundamentally replace the current civil service laws"
"fundamentally replace the Detroit school system with a series of experiments"
"fundamentally replaced their current failed education system"
"fundamental replacement of America"
"fundamentally replacing the entire Civil Service process"
"fundamentally replacing things that don't work"
"fundamentally reset American government and American politics"
"fundamentally reset the country"
"fundamentally reshape how we invest in science"
"fundamentally reshape the NLRB"
"fundamentally reshaped the spiritual and political landscape of the 20th Century"
"fundamental restatement that the academy has to do something"
"fundamental restructuring"
"fundamentally rethink an investment budget as opposed to an annual budget"
"fundamentally rethink disability in America"
"fundamentally rethink education in America"
"fundamentally rethink how we exploit brain science across the board"
"fundamentally rethink how we treat and rehabilitate our prisoners"
"fundamentally rethink how we win that"
"fundamentally rethink our national defense system"
"fundamentally rethink prisons"
"fundamentally rethink that area"
"fundamentally rethink the budgeting process at that level"
"fundamentally rethink the entire federal government system"
"fundamentally rethink the entire way we approach disabilities in America."
"fundamentally rethink the federal government"
"fundamentally rethink the payment and funding of health care"
"fundamentally rethink the role of the member of Congress"
"fundamentally rethink unemployment compensation"
"fundamental rethinking of the American government"
"fundamental rethinking of the federal government"
"fundamentally rethinking our entire health care system"
"fundamentally rethinking the current system."
"fundamentally rethinking the presidential selection process"
"fundamentally rethinking the system"
"fundamentally rethinking"
"fundamentally rethought if we are going to get this country back to stability"
"fundamentally revisit how we deal with judges"
"fundamentally rewriting it"
"fundamentally rig the game"
"fundamentally shake up their cost structure"
"fundamentally shift back to a much more conservative government"
"fundamental shift back to personal responsibility”
"fundamental shift in the way medicine is practiced"
"fundamentally shifting resources towards families."
"fundamentally shifting the direction of the United States government"
"fundamentally sinful from the standpoint"
"fundamental social conservative reform in 70 years"
"fundamental strategic assessment"
"fundamental, strategic difference"
"fundamental than anything going on in Washington right now"
"fundamental than the current political system seems to be able to have"
"fundamental the problem is"
"fundamentally the wrong direction"
"fundamental thinking of our policy overseas"
"fundamental threat his ideology is to the country"
"fundamental threat to freedom in this country"
"fundamental threat to the survival of America as a country"
"fundamentally transform government"             
"fundamentally transform government from the world that fails to the world that works"
"fundamentally transform litigation, regulation, taxation, education, health, energy, infrastructure, and our national security apparatuses"
"fundamentally transform the state through a series of targeted strikes"
"fundamental transformation of government"
"fundamental transformation of the State Department"
"fundamental truths"
"fundamentally try to learn, where are we?"
"fundamentally trying to change this country"
"fundamental turning point"
"fundamentally unconstitutional"
"fundamental underlying institutional reform"
"fundamental understanding today of the changes we need to be successful"
"fundamentally undisciplined"
"fundamentally unfair to America's future"
"fundamental values, our fundamental belief systems"
"fundamentally very dangerous"
"fundamentally violate the Constitution"
"fundamentally violate the federal government"
"fundamental violation of legitimate government"
"fundamental violation of the Constitution"
"fundamental violation of the Constitution and a fundamental violation of the executive branch's power"
"fundamental violation of your rights as given you by your creator"
"fundamental vision of extending Sharia across the planet"
"fundamental way what happens to you when you are 65"
"fundamental ways he's disappointing the left"
"fundamentally with Rush on this question"
"fundamentally wrong about a guy who had years of tax violations"
"fundamentally wrong about that"
"fundamentally wrong about the way we're measuring the current market value"
"fundamentally wrong about this entire process"
"fundamentally wrong and fundamentally against the American tradition"
"fundamentally wrong and, I believe, unconstitutional"
"fundamentally wrong as a model"
"fundamentally wrong because it distances a member of the House of Representatives"
"fundamentally wrong because now you're into personal enrichment"
"fundamentally wrong because trickle-down bureaucracy doesn't work"
"fundamentally wrong for a military commander"
"fundamentally wrong for the president to delegate strategic thinking"
"fundamentally wrong for the speaker of the House to have a military aircraft"
"fundamentally wrong for the survival of this country"
"fundamentally wrong from the standpoint of most Americans"
"fundamentally wrong if you're in a war"
"fundamentally wrong in talking about more quantitative easing"
"fundamentally wrong the left is"
"fundamentally wrong this process is"
"fundamentally wrong to build a mosque at ground zero"
"fundamentally wrong to create a precedent"
"fundamentally wrong to give people money for 99 weeks for doing nothing"
"fundamentally wrong when the big three are not willing to negotiate"
"fundamentally wrong when the president ... appoints people so radical"
"fundamentally wrong with how Washington works, and there's something fundamentally wrong with how the Congress is currently working"
"fundamentally wrong with it"
"fundamentally wrong with the current system"
"fundamentally wrong with the system"
"fundamentally wrong with weakness in America"