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The New School’s Newt Snoot

No Q&A, no mercy.

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Last week, the New School University hosted Newt Gingrich, the first celebrity Republican to visit the school since the highly publicized heckling of John McCain in May. Predictably, the “public conversation” between Gingrich and New School president Bob Kerrey was interrupted by a posse of students singing Utah Phillips’s working-class homage, “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum!” Kerrey ultimately decided that there would be no time for a Q&A session, and the crowd wasn’t happy. “Then give us our $50,000 back, plus the dinner for two,” yelled out a student. Kerrey shot back, “Whoever told you that Newt came here for $50,000 lied. He came for free and didn’t even ask for airfare.” Gingrich and Kerrey co-chair a health-care commission officially housed at the school, an affiliation that explained the chalked graffiti around campus: WELCOME TO THE NEW(T) SCHOOL OF CORPORATE RESEARCH. “Any way that Kerrey’s reputation is further tarnished is a positive thing,” said undergrad protester Leijia Hanrahan. In response to the grumbling, Gingrich has promised to return in November and said he’d entertain questions via e-mail.

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