Newt was very subdued on stage last night.

I noted at the time that it probably was a strategy of not taking Romney’s bait, but he needs to be more aggressive in defending when Romney attacks.

The video below is being hyped by both the NY Times and Drudge as Newt threatening to pull out of future debates if the audience cannot participate, but Newt never says that.  There is one garbled word on the video, but otherwise there was no such threat.

(added) Here’s how CNS transcribed the segment (h/t Gateway Pundit):

“And we’re going to serve notice on future debates, we won’t (mumble), we’re just not going to allow that to happen. That’s wrong. The media doesn’t control free speech. People ought to be allowed to applaud if they want to. It was almost silly.”

The claim that Newt threatened to pull out of future debates, at least if this video is the proof, is a fabrication of The NY Times being hyped by Drudge.

To the contrary, if I were Newt and the network set such rules, I’d show up and in my opening announce that the audience does not need to obey the network, and invite the others on stage to join him.  Is there any candidate who would not go along?

Is it me, or does Drudge seem to be on an anti-Newt campaign?  The day-long banner he gave to Marianne Gingrich was as over the top as anything I’ve ever seen.  He even has a top link to Newt-hater Jennifer Rubin today.

Video via ElectAd: