President Barack Obama should be back home tending to national and international issues instead of pitching the Olympics in Denmark, says former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“Faced with the objective fact that the Iranians have been running a secret second program and lying about it, faced with a deadline in Iran, faced with 9.7 percent unemployment, where is the president?” Gingrich rhetorically asked Fox News host Greta Van Susteren during her “On the Record” program Wednesday.
“He's in Copenhagen on behalf of Mayor (Richard) Daley trying to get the Olympics,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich was questioning the president’s trip to Denmark to lobby the International Olympic Committee on behalf of his hometown of Chicago to host the 2016 summer games.
Gingrich joined other Republicans and conservatives in attacking Obama's decision to leave the country in the middle of the healthcare debate; the dire situations in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and when Americans still are losing jobs.
Chicago is competing with Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Madrid, Spain; and Tokyo in the quest to host the Olympics. The heads of state from Brazil, Spain, and Japan also are appearing in person in Denmark this week to lobby for those cities.
Other observations Gingrich made during the interview:
“The challenge the president [will have] when he is back from the Olympics . . . will be to sit in a room and decide, 'All right, we cannot pass the left-wing bill [which includes a public option], and we can't pass a non-left-wing bill with only Democrats.’ ”
Democrats "clearly have been overreaching. They have been trying to impose on the American people something they don't want. Every poll has said that; virtually every town hall meeting in August said that. I think it puts them in a position where there's a clear signal to House Democrats that, unless you're suicidal, you're going to drop this. Why would a marginal House Democratic member vote for a government option in the House knowing that it is absolutely dead in the Senate?”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., faces another challenge within her own party, that “the socialist wing of the Democratic Party –– the Henry Waxmans, the Barney Franks –– [think] this is their chance: The time for socialism has finally arrived. Let's get a big government health plan.’”
Gingrich questioned whether Pelosi and the Democratic caucus are willing to listen to enough Republicans and moderate Democrats to create a majority to pass important bills.
Obama and Pelosi have to decide how they are going to get the left wing of the Democratic Party on board with the wishes of the American people, Gingrich said.
Turning his attention to the Iranian issue, Gingrich said this week's meetings of the United Nations Security Council in Geneva over what to do about the rogue nation's nuclear ambitions won’t matter unless it faces sanctions.
“I think unless the United States is prepared to cut off gasoline supplies to Iran and basically force the regime into a crisis, there's nothing we're going to do that matters,” he told Van Susteren. "If we're serious about it, we can solo. We have the only global navy on the planet. If we say one morning there will be no gasoline tankers getting into Iran, then there'll be no gasoline. Unless they are prepared to disrupt the gasoline supplies, there is nothing they can do to the Iranians that has any real meaning.”
Gingrich said that, if he were to advise Obama, he would tell the president that the problem in Iran can be fixed only with a new regime.
“This dictatorship is dedicated to nuclear weapons,” he said. “It is dedicated to terrorism. It is doing everything it can publicly to humiliate you. It is showing you every way it can that it disgraces you. Any diplomatic game would make you look weaker and would give them more time to strengthen their position."
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