Former Congressman and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum tells Newsmax that Newt Gingrich is the best nominee Republicans can choose to run against President Obama and predicts that Gingrich not only will win the GOP nomination, but the general election in November.
He also says the three principal issues in the 2012 election will be the economy, national security, and Obamacare, and the healthcare reform debate will be a “big deficiency” for Gingrich’s chief GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney.
McCollum served in the U.S. House from 1981 to 2001, and became Attorney General of the Sunshine State in 2007, leaving the post to run unsuccessfully for governor in 2010. As Attorney General he spearheaded the efforts by several states to challenge the legality of Obamacare, a challenge that the Supreme Court will rule on in the coming months.
In an exclusive interview with NewsmaxTV, McCollum explains why he is strongly backing Gingrich for the Republican nomination.
“I’ve known Newt for a long time,” he says. “I served with him in Congress. I was in House Republican leadership before we took the majority in 1994 with him. I know we wouldn’t have taken that majority, we wouldn’t have had the Contract with America, we wouldn’t have had welfare reform or a balanced budget if it weren’t for Newt Gingrich.
“So I’ve seen his leadership first hand, and I believe he has the leadership skills, knowledge and vision to be a very good president, and he is the most articulate about the conservative positions of any of the Republican candidates.
“I think he will be the best nominee we can produce to debate President Obama, to campaign against him, to make the case and win the election in November.”
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In the same interview, McCollumn also told Newsmax that Mitt Romney's ties to former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, whose former aides are running the candidate's campaign in the state, are hurting Romney. To see related story, click here.
Among Gingrich’s strongest qualities, he is knowledgeable, articulate, and quick on his feet, McCollum says.
“Sure he’s got his faults, but his positives far outweigh his negatives, and that’s what the people are now seeing in this campaign. They’ve watched him debate but they’ve also seen that despite everything else he is the person who has what it takes to be president, and most of all what it takes to win.”
Looking ahead to the coming campaign and November election, McCollum tells Newsmax: “It’s going to be a very dramatic election. We’re going to pick our nominee and once we’ve done that we’re going to see — with Newt Gingrich as the nominee, I think he will be — a very classic campaign.
“There are three principal issues. The economy is absolutely at the top of the list right now. We’ve got to balance the budget. We’ve got to turn around this incredible spending machine and big government we have in Washington, and get tax relief and jobs being produced again.
“Also foreign policy and defense. National security is going to be a much bigger issue than maybe people realize right now. The president has proposed building it down in ways that were just unimaginable a few months ago. I think with China and other things on the horizon, this is the wrong time and the wrong place and you’re going to see that debated.
“And Obamacare I think is going to be a very big central part of the campaign, which by the way is a big deficiency for Romney because of Romneycare. He’s got one arm tied behind his back. He can say he’s for repealing it and replacing it, but when it comes to debating the merits of it all it’s patterned after his own legislation that he’s still defending.
“The campaign will be over those issues, and what direction do the American people want to go. At the end of the day I think first of all Newt Gingrich will get the nomination and I think he will win that election.”
Asked about the legal challenge to Obamacare that McCollum spearheaded, he responds:
“The Supreme Court will make a very historic decision in June on the constitutionality of the individual mandate that requires an individual to purchase healthcare insurance or pay a penalty, which I think is very unconstitutional.
“There will also be a question of the constitutionality of the coercion that’s in this law, of the states and Medicaid, forcing them to do things they’ve never had to do before, including to provide for the number of doctors needed for Medicaid, to provide for the hospital beds required for this greatly expanded program of more eligible people to be covered by Medicaid.
“It will be a very interesting decision. I think it will probably be a 5-4 decision. I don’t know how it will come down for sure but I think we’ve got a really good chance of winning, and I’m very proud of the fact that it’s the Florida case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court.”
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