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Gingrich 2012 rollout: Newt just wants to have fun

May 13, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP )

Newt Gingrich, best known for having waged some of the most bruising political battles of recent decades, seems intent now to run the biggest campaign of his life with a fresh persona: happy warrior.

“I think this is going to be the happiest, most positive, most fun campaign in my lifetime,” he said Friday in his first policy address since formally declaring his candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Gingrich chose a conference room in a Washington hotel for that speech, outlining a classic conservative economic agenda at the conference of Laffer Associates.

The former House speaker said the keys to reigniting the American economy include lower taxes, reforming entitlements, and whittling government regulation. He would make a balanced budget a priority, something he acknowledged would take years but can be done “faster than anyone thinks” by controlling spending, reforming government and maximizing economic growth.

He spoke of an “On the First Day” project, in which he would issue approximately 200 executive orders during the one-hour break between his inauguration ceremony and the traditional luncheon at the Capitol. They would be posted before the election, drafted by Bush and Reagan administration alumni, and written in plain and technical language.

The first would be to abolish the “Obama czars,” executive branch officials charged with implementing the president’s agenda. 

Gingrich spoke without notes, discussing his proposals for 22 minutes before engaging in a question-and-answer session with the audience. He made no mention of his potential Republican opponents, focusing instead on a president he said is trying to run a Chicago-style machine administration.

President Obama's likely financial advantage is not a concern, Gingrich said, because he has to “answer at some point for his performance,” and Gingrich pledged to use Obama's own television ads against him.

 “We’ll probably run an ad starting next September that says, ‘The next time you drive up to a gas pump remember the last Obama ad you saw,’” Gingrich said. “This guy’s trying to convince you that there’s a phony reality that doesn’t exist.”

The final question concerned how he would navigate an environment in which the media were inclined to disdain him. Gingrich channeled the late President Reagan, who he said was much more concerned with the view of the American people than the liberal New York Times editorial board.

“I think we’re going to have so many ideas, so many interested people, so much fun,” he said, adding that the Internet would enable him to get his message out beyond the mainstream media’s reach. “So there’ll be a little noise on the left. So what?”

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