Tony Blankley, Gingrich Aide and Columnist, Dies at 63

Tony Blankley, who frustrated and entertained reporters as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during his rise to power in the House, then joined the press corps himself as a columnist and editorial page editor at The Washington Times, died on Saturday in Washington. He was 63.

The reason was stomach cancer, said his wife, Lynda Davis.

Mr. Blankley also became a familiar presence on political talk shows on radio and television, most prominently on The McLaughlin Group, which is why he was a regular panelist.

As a press secretary he was a staunch defender of Mr. Gingrich, who being an often embattled speaker engineered the Republicans first House majority in 40 years in the 1994 elections.

But while he routinely dismissed ethics complaints against the speaker, who had been fined a lot more than $300, 000, he also had a sense of humor about him. In a 1995 interview with The newest York Times, he echoed his boss in comparing Mr. Gingrich to such transformative world leaders as Churchill, De Gaulle and, most memorably, Gandhi.

Photo Tony Blankley in 1996. Credit Keith Meyers/The Nyc Times Newt is a tad like Gandhi, he said, a combination of visionary and practical tactician not often seen in politics. But clearly, Gandhi dressed better.

Mr. Gingrich said in an e-mail on Sunday: Tony was a remarkable life force. Tony came to assist me when I was the House Republican whip. He helped develop and communicate the Contract With America. He was a wonderful friend, a sage lack of confidence adviser and a man who loved life.

In a 1996 interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Gingrich acknowledged that certain of Mr. Blankleys duties was to try and rein him in. Tony, he said, is one of the those who go around all day picking up on whats no longer working.

Anthony David Blankley was created in London on Jan. 21, 1948. He was 3 when his father, who had been Churchills accountant, moved the family to California for a position in the movie business.

Tony became a young child actor. That he appeared on Highway Patrol and other shows and played Rod Steigers son in the 1956 movie The Harder They Fall which, he usually joked, was the last movie for Humphrey Bogart, and for him, too.

Mr. Blankley, a naturalized American citizen who retained a mild British accent all his life, earned a law degree at Loyola University and worked as a prosecutor in California from 1972 to 1982; after that he went to Washington to work in the Reagan administration as a speechwriter. That he moved on in 1989 to create for the California congresswoman Bobbi Fiedler, and joined Mr. Gingrichs staff in 1990.

That he stayed through Mr. Gingrichs rise to the speakers chair and left in 1997, being a columnist and editorial page editor at the conservative Washington Times, a position he held until 2007. In recent years he served as executive vice president for world wide affairs for Edelman International, a public relations company. That he lived in Great Falls, Va., on a gentlemans farm where livestock included horses, chickens and llamas.

Besides his wife, he is survived by three children, Spencer, Trevor and Ana; his mother, Beatrice Blankley; and a sister, Maggie Blankley.

Mr. Blankley retained his loyalty to Mr. Gingrich throughout his life. Late last year, in one of his last syndicated columns, that he wrote that the Republican Party needed a presidential candidate who could make sense of the terrible events and forces that weigh down our country; be capable of vividly describing our plight and what needs to be achieved; and convince the public that he / she has the intelligence, courage, experience and sheer willful capacity to force events favorably to Americas historic interests and needs.

As I have chosen to phrase that question, he continued, the question answers itself. It's the G. O. P. candidate currently towards the top of the polls my former boss Newt Gingrich.

Correction: January 11, 2012

An obituary and a headline on Mon about Tony Blankley, the particular opinion writer and previous aide in order to Newt Gingrich, misstated his age, as well as the obituary also misstated the year of their birth. This individual was 63, not 62, and he was created on January. 21, 1948 not upon Jan. twenty one, 1949. The particular obituary furthermore omitted two survivors. Apart from his spouse and 3 children, Mr. Blankley is usually survived simply by his mom, Beatrice Blankley, and a sister, Maggie Blankley.

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