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Newt On Tiffany's: "Girlfriends With Birthdays"

New Hampshire is known for its frugality -- thus it manages to run the operations of state government with neither a sales or income tax, thus hundreds of residents turn out every year for town meetings to argue about whether the new snow plow is really needed, and thus David Souter thinks it perfectly normal for a Supreme Court justice to be living in an old farmhouse house that's on the verge of falling down.

Somehow, though, Newt Gingrich did not absorb this bit of regional pop-psychology in his copious reading of American politics. Because when he was asked by a voter today in New Hampshire about his heavy spending at Tiffany's, where he has had a revolving charge account of up to $500,000, he reacted with the same scorn that he does when debate moderators dare to, say, ask him to differentiate himself from the other Republicans on stage. A nice catch from Sarah Palermo at my old stomping grounds, the Concord Monitor, who records Gingrich's response:

"Isn't this stupid? These are stores. These are stores that have a wide range of things you can buy. She has girlfriends with birthdays. . . . I hope everybody gets the chance to go to the place they want to go to spend the money they earn."

A wide range of things. They got maple-sugar lollipops and Shaker baskets and snow-melt. Basically just like your average New England general store...