ARLINGTON, Va. -- Newt Gingrich walks into a TV store on Leesburg Pike and cracks a joke.

"Well I bet that both of you think that you're working," he says to the owner of Belmont TV, Ken Sickmen, and one of his employees, seemingly referencing President Obama's now infamous "you didn't build that" remark.

Only Gingrich appears to be implying that Obama accused small business owners of just not working at all.

Sickmen, conscious of about a dozen reporters, looks uncomfortable -- he either doesn't hear Gingrich or can't understand him.

"Both of you probably think that you're working," Gingrich says again.

Sickmen, who agreed to let Gingrich come to his store Monday afternoon and deliver a speech on behalf of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- Gingrich's former bitter rival -- is eager to be in on the joke.

"Absolutely!" he says.

Gingrich continues in mock condescension, "See you just don't get it."

At that moment, a press aide who works for the Republican National Committee and is shepherding Gingrich through this event on behalf of the Romney campaign suggests that the former House Speaker (R-Ga.) and Sickmen move into a back office to talk privately.

But Gingrich emerges less than five minutes later for the real purpose of his visit: what ends up as a 15-minute give and take with the press on radical Islam, United Nations refugee camps, the glory years when Bill Clinton was president and he was House Speaker, and, oh yeah, how Obama is "a failed left wing president."

To be fair, Gingrich starts out his remarks by hammering Obama. But as three RNC and Romney staffers look on -- one from the wings and two from the back -- Gingrich then proceeds to do what he does best: take questions from the press about anything and reliably provide provocative answers.

Obama's "you didn't build that" comment was "a Freudian slip," Gingrich says.

"This is a business that has been here 69 years. And I don't think it's here because of Barack Obama," Gingrich says, with Sickmen, who spoke first, standing to his left.

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