The Gish Gallop is a a debating/rhetorical technique that involves barraging an opponent with a haze of falsified statements, outright lies, and straw-man arguments. The unsuspecting opponent typically feels defenseless and frustrated against the attack and is unable to deflect it on the spot. It is named after creationism activist and professional debater Duane Gish.
Newt Gingrich is a notorious gish-galloper. In an exchange with Howard Dean he grossly distorted the facts concerning the number of Americans who would be forced into a government health insurance plan by making up the random number of 131 million:
"The way the bill in the House -- and we're talking about a specific bill -- the way the bill in the House would work, if your company didn't offer any insurance, they would pay an 8 percent tax on their personnel cost.
For most companies, that would be a net savings of 3 percent, 4 percent or 5 percent. One estimate by Lewin Associates (sic) is 131 million Americans will lose their private insurance and be pushed into a government plan."
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