Gingrich Taps CMU Expert on Foreign Relations
Zito, Salena, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Foreign policy expert Kiron Skinner, the director of Carnegie Mellon University's International Relations and Politics department, has joined Republican Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign as a national security adviser.
"He is a one-man think tank. I am very humbled by the role," Skinner, 50, of O'Hara, told the Tribune-Review in an interview Thursday.
Skinner, who earned master's and doctorate degrees in political science and international relations from Harvard University, serves on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2001 to 2007, she was a member of the Defense Department's Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
She joined the Gingrich campaign team on Nov. 22 in Washington, the day of the CNN/Heritage Foundation GOP presidential debate focusing on foreign policy.
"I don't foresee my role as someone who offers advice. I am there to help support his ideas, as part of his intellectual echo chamber," said Skinner, who met the former House speaker when they served on former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's foreign policy forum.
"Foreign policy advisers, like economic advisers, are there to fill in the framework," said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, a Washington-based veteran of several presidential campaigns. "The candidates are like the surgeons; the advisers are brought in to close things up."
Gingrich, 68, of Virginia, lingered in the single digits in polls during most of the lead-up to the GOP primaries but recently shot up in popularity because of debate performances and a push to galvanize former supporters of candidates Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann as their campaigns faltered. …