NEWT GINGRICH, BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER…. Rep.-elect Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.) managed to get elected thanks to the cash in William Jefferson’s freezer. Given the Democrats’ overwhelming advantage in the district, Cao will have a lot of work to do if he plans to get re-elected in two years.

As Amanda Terkel noted, the Republican establishment completely ignored Cao during the election, assuming he’d lose. But now that he’s eked out a victory, Cao is a party hero. Indeed, GOP leaders are rushing to embrace him.

Perhaps the most entertaining outreach comes by way of Newt Gingrich.

By midmorning Cao was interrupting an interview to take a call from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who offered good wishes and, Cao said, counseled him “to reach out to the African-American community.” Cao said Gingrich offered to act as a go-between.

Now, I can understand Cao wanting to establish stronger ties with the African-American community — a clear majority (64%) of his congressional district is black, and he isn’t. Indeed, Cao has already taken several steps to foster a relationship with, for example, the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus.

But putting that aside, what on earth makes Gingrich think he, of all people, has so much credibility in the African-American community, that he can serve as a liaison on Cao’s behalf? Has the former Speaker been hiding an impress record on civil rights issues that we’re not aware of?

Gingrich sure is odd.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.