Bloomberg is reporting that one of the $60,000 speeches Newt Gingrich delivered as part of his Washington insider gig as a lobbyist “…praised private equity more fulsomely than I could ever do it” according to Paul Levy, the managing director at JLL Partners, Inc., and in the audience during the speech two years ago. 

Levy could be more careful in his choice of words.  According to the American Heritage Dictionary, fulsome means “offensively flattering or insincere”, but a subsequent note explains that the word is often used to mean simply “abundant”.  I think Mr. Levy meant that Mr. Gingrich abundantly praised the  private equity industry, not that his praise was offensively flattering or insincere. 

Mr. Gingrich’s razor-sharp wit is no doubt even now discerning distinctions as to why it is perfectly consistent for him to attack Mr. Romney for his experience as a private equity manager after having fulsomely praised the industry in which he worked. 

Yet, Levy’s use of “fulsomely” might accidentally have been apt in describing Mr. Gingrich.  When has Mr. Gingrich been anything other than “offensively flattering or insincere”?

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