Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday he still has strong support among the GOP electorate, despite the exodus of 18 top staffers, and the relentless, scathing media attacks — and he doesn’t believe the constant “gossip” detracts from his message.
“We have had a steady base of support all through the last month of the media attacks,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto. “And the fact is, I was just in Indianola [Iowa] on Saturday with tea party [supporters] talking to people about ideas, about creating jobs, cutting taxes, repealing . . . bills that are over-regulating America — and I found a very good response.
“I will be back, I think, 16 days in the next two months in Iowa, campaigning, listening to people, and talking about a series of issues that are a little different, I think, than you normally get in traditional politics,” he said. “Because I think, with 14 million unemployed, and with housing in a depression-level collapse, deeper fall in prices than during the Great Depression, you really need very bold, very new policies.”
Cavuto noted the media attention stems from the resignations and his personal life, and although the former Speaker did well in a recent Iowa poll, people question his electability.
Gingrich said he found the obsession on those issues strange, when he is focusing on what he could do to dramatically change the way the country functions. But he acknowledges: “It is very difficult to get past the gossip and get into substance. And I am determined to keep campaigning and to keep focusing on substance.”
“Let me just say flatly: I run my own campaign — I developed the Contract with America when no consultant in Washington believed in it. We balanced the federal budget when no consultant in Washington thought it was possible,” Gingrich said. “I helped Ronald Reagan in 1980 when 13 senior staff left on the morning of the New Hampshire primary and over 100 staff were laid off two weeks later.
“I think the turmoil is, frankly, irrelevant,” he continued. “What matters is, with 14 million unemployed, with the national capital out of control, with a $2 trillion deficit, can you find somebody who knows what the challenges are, has real solutions, and has a track record of actually getting it done?”
Cavuto pressed on, saying the concerns were more than just gossip, but a question of how he can soldier forward with all the distractions,
“Well, first of all, by not being distracted, but focusing on substance and talking about the solutions we need as a country, and second by reminding people that Ronald Reagan had exactly the same challenges in 1980 — John McCain had exactly the same challenges in 2007,” Gingrich said. “Both of them worked through it because, in the end, it turned out the candidates mattered more than the consultants.
“And I would just suggest to you that the track record we have had of helping elect the first Republican majority in history — or in 40 years of history — the first re-elected majority since 1928, having helped balanced the budget for four straight years, paying off $405 billion in debt, helping pass the first tax cut in 16 years, helping pass welfare reform, those are real achievements,” he said.
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