Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich tells Newsmax that a Gingrich/Herman Cain ticket in 2012 is a “real possibility” — and so is a slate with Cain on top and Gingrich as his running mate.
The former House speaker also asserts that it is “unconscionable” for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan not to recuse herself from the Obamacare case, warns that the United States will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and says the supercommittee charged with cutting the budget deficit is a “terrible way to govern.”
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The veteran Georgia lawmaker was first elected to the House in 1978 and served as speaker from 1995 to 1999 before announcing his retirement.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Gingrich, who is campaigning in Iowa, was asked about the recent surge in the polls that has lifted him into strong contention for the GOP presidential nomination.
“I think it comes down to substance,” he says.
“I think America is in trouble, and the American people know we’re in trouble. I think they’re looking for leadership that has both solutions big enough that they can work and has experience, and I’m the only candidate in the race that’s actually led a national effort, who worked with Ronald Reagan to get the economy to grow again and to defeat the Soviet empire, and who as speaker of the House helped develop four consecutive balanced budgets while bringing unemployment down to 4.2 percent.
“So I think it’s a combination of really big solutions and the experience, where people can say he might really be able to get it done. They’ve come together and given us the support we’ve gotten over the past few weeks.”
Gingrich was asked whether he would consider joining the GOP ticket as the vice-presidential candidate if another candidate wins the presidential nomination.
“I’ll do anything I can to help defeat Obama, but I personally think that it would be much much better to have me as the presidential nominee,” he responds.
“I‘m focused on what I could do to lead the country from the presidency, and we’ll cross other bridges if we get to them.”
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As for the chances that there could be a Gingrich-Cain ticket, or a Cain-Gingrich ticket, Gingrich asserts: “I think that’s a real possibility. I think there are other possibilities. There are several very good candidates running for president.
“We have a number of great potential [vice presidential] candidates, people like Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, so you really don’t want to preclude looking at a number of people.
“I think there are a lot of folks out there in the Republican Party, and a number of them would be very good vice presidents and frankly good presidents.”
Gingrich says he and Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney are “very different in our approaches” to governance.
“I’ve been a consistent conservative for a very long time,” Gingrich says. “I probably come at this from a different perspective as a national conservative than Mitt does. Mitt is a fine person and was a good manager, but we do approach things in very different ways.”
The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear the challenge to Obama’s healthcare reform bill. Gingrich was asked whether Justice Elena Kagan, who was solicitor general under President Obama, should recuse herself.
“Absolutely,” Gingrich declares. “It is unconscionable that a person who actually advised in the writing of Obamacare will now sit in judgment on what they help write.
“I think clearly Kagan should recuse herself. It’s clearly a conflict of interest, and I think a very bad judicial setting for her to now be rendering judgment on the bill she helped write.”
As to how the high court will rule in the case, Gingrich says: “You never quite know, but my hunch is that they are going to decide that it is unconstitutional to have a mandate” to buy health insurance.
Gingrich also discussed another hot topic: the supercommittee charged with cutting the federal budget deficit.
“I think the supercommittee is a very bad idea. You take 535 House and Senate members, you shrink them down to 12. The 12 are handpicked by the political leadership of the two parties so they’re guaranteed to be partisan. You then have too few meetings, no public meetings that matter, you come up with some gigantic bill that you try to ram through using fear tactics. I think it’s a terrible way to govern.
“My advice to the supercommittee is: First, reform the Congressional Budget Office, whose bureaucratic models kill innovation and growth. Second, look at really big solutions to modernize the federal bureaucracy.
“Third, look for more revenue, not higher taxes. If you open up more oil and gas exploration, you get more federal revenue. If you open up the land we own in Alaska and Nevada, you get more federal revenue. If you get people back to work, you get reduced costs because they’re not getting food stamps, unemployment, public housing, Medicaid. On the other hand, they are paying taxes.
“There are things they could do that would enable us to have a positive outcome. I don’t see any sign that they’re moving in that direction. I see every sign that it’s kind of a standard partisan bickering, and frankly not a very creative project that’s under way.”
Gingrich has called for the United States to take military action against Iran if sanctions do not stop its nuclear weapons development program. He was asked how much longer the U.S. can afford to wait before striking.
“I think what the Iranians have to understand is that we are not going to allow them to develop that program,” Gingrich tells Newsmax.
“And frankly, the Israelis, who are much more threatened than we are, may decide to do that much earlier than we would, in which case I think we have a moral obligation to back the Israelis.
“If the Iranians gave up their nuclear program, nobody in Israel is going to attack Iran. But if the Israelis allow them to get a nuclear program, there’s a very real danger that they are going to annihilate Israel and create a second Holocaust by wiping out millions of people. So I think the Israeli prime minister is under enormous pressure to not allow that to happen.”
Gingrich explained his call for an initiative to help Americans focus on brain science.
“The opportunities in brain science are truly enormous. We could in the next 10 to 20 years have breakthroughs that will affect Alzheimer’s, autism, Parkinson’s, mental health, a tremendous array of things. The impact on human lives and on the federal budget would be enormous.
“Alzheimer’s is estimated to be a $20 trillion cost from now to 2050. That’s one and a half times the entire federal debt. If you could postpone the onset of Alzheimer’s by five years, you save $6-$8 trillion.
“I’m prepared to unveil a program that would invest in brain research and accelerate knowledge getting from the laboratory to the patient.”
Gingrich also has called for a plan to revolutionize Social Security by having high school and college students start their own personal retirement accounts with their share of the contributions to Social Security. They would have the right to choose the new program or stay with the current system, but Gingrich says that with his plan by the time they retire they would have on average two or three times as much money as under the current system.
“Plus, you get to decide when to retire, because it’s your retirement account and you’re in charge,” he adds.
Finally, Gingrich was asked about criticism of his decision to take time off from his political efforts to take his wife on a cruise in Greece.
“I’m very glad we went to Greece,” he says.
“You look at the [financial] crisis in Greece right now, and I can tell you having been there, having talked to people, I have a much better understanding about what’s happening in Europe.
“The Greek people are faced with the loss of one-third of their standard of living.
“It’s very sobering and very helpful in helping me understand the crisis that Obama-style spending and irresponsibility leads to.”
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