Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says his performance in Republican debates has led to his resurgence in the polls because GOP voters want somebody who can stand toe to toe with President Barack Obama when confronting America’s issues. The presidential hopeful also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday his congressional record is beginning to speak for itself.
“The last debate Saturday night really affected a lot of people — and they sort of clicked and they said: ‘Yep, I’m for him,’” Gingrich said. “And I think that there’s a really deep sense that they want somebody who can debate Obama, but they also want somebody who if they get elected can actually change Washington.
“And I think the level of experience I’ve had in the past, balancing the budget, passing entitlement reform, getting things done, and the fact that people seem to think that I’m a pretty good debater combines to give people the sense that maybe I am the right person to get America back on the right track and to make sure that Obama is a one-term president,” he said. “I think that’s all coming together in way that is much faster than I thought it would be.”
Hannity noted his resurgence in the presidential polls has led to a lot of anti-Gingrich “chatter” and asked the former speaker how he plans to deal with the negative attacks.
“I think if you are going to become the front-runner to be president of the United States, you had better expect a very thorough, meticulous effort to take you apart. You know, Harry Truman said one time: ‘If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen’ — and I think there’s a lot to that,” Gingrich said. “If you are not tough enough to withstand this kind of scrutiny, you are sure not tough enough to be president of the United States.
“And I think in many ways, Barack Obama has [been] done a great disservice by the news media’s unwillingness to take him seriously — and deal with him in the way they would have anybody else — as a result, he didn’t learn the things you have to learn to really be effective in the White House,” he said. “The great things that happens is you get hit from out of the blue with something you never dreamed of — and then you’ve got to relax, think it through, have a good response. You know, I voted 7,200 times in my career — I have given probably 15,000 speeches — I have written 24 books . . . the fact is you go through all that stuff, you are going to find plenty of things to throw at me.”
Gingrich said nitpicking at his vast volume of comments is not what’s going to matter to 2012 voters; what will be important is: “Am I tough enough to take the heat? And do I have the experience?”
“We tried four years of inexperience and amateurism — do I have the experience to actually get it done if I win?” he said. “If I can answer those so people believe it, I suspect I’ll end up being the next president, which is frankly a very formidable and very sobering prospect.”
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