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Gingrich calls Obama the E-word

After Mitt Romney announced his campaign for president, I noted his repeated use of "European" as an epithet to describe Barack Obama's economic and foreign policies. I surmised that it's a way of suggesting there's something not-quite-American about the president without pandering to the lunatic fringe still questioning his birthplace or religion. Though he would probably deny taking cues from Romney, Newt Gingrich appeared to be running with this theme at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans:

"He is a natural secular European socialist," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose campaign imploded last week when his top advisers resigned. "He is the opposite of freedom."

The opposite of freedom? Someone should those Bolshevik sleeper agents over at the Heritage Foundation, whose 2011 Index of Economic Freedom ranks most of the "secular socialist" countries in Western Europe as "free" or "mostly free" rather than the correct designation: "Totalitarian Hellscape."

One other odd thing about the quote: Some versions of the AP story quoted above have Gingrich saying "national secular European socialist," which has very different … er … connotations. I can't find a video of the speech online. Any readers happen to hear it live?

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Another arrested Egyptian official suffers heart problems

This is beginning to follow a pattern. A day after he was arrested in Spain, one of Hosni Mubarak's top aides was taken to a hospital over the weekend, complaining of heart problems, Reuters reports. Hussein Salem had fled Egypt in the waning days of Mubarak's rule, in early February. He was wanted on charges of money laundering, fraud, bribery, and corruption. He's accused of misusing public funds by selling gas to Israel below market value.

Astute readers might recall that this is not the first time an Egyptian official stayed out of jail, claiming heart trouble. Hosni Mubarak was rushed to a hospital after reportedly suffering a heart attack while being questioned by prosecutors back in April.

A month later, his wife Suzanne suffered a "suspected heart attack" after Egyptian authorities ordered her detained and accused her of stealing public money during her husband's tenure. A doctor said she passed out after hearing the news. She was later released, without serving jail time.