Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tells Newsmax TV that President Obama wants to “defame” Republicans so he can win the House in 2014 and have “free rein” for two years to impose his left-wing agenda.
Gingrich also maintains that Obama had “dramatically exaggerated” the consequences of the sequester, but says it will take several years before Democrats and Republicans resolve their differences on the budget.
The veteran Georgia lawmaker was first elected to the House in 1978 and served as speaker from 1995 to 1999 before announcing his retirement. He unsuccessfully sought the GOP presidential nomination last year.
His latest book is “Victory at Yorktown.”
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Gingrich was asked about assertions from some Republicans that Obama is seeking to destroy the GOP.
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“Destroy is too strong a word,” he says. “He would not mind if the Republicans stayed around as an irrelevant minority. But he certainly wants to break the House Republicans. He wants to set up a 2014 campaign that will give him the last two years of his presidency governing with a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate.
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“He’s working overtime to defame the Republican Party and narrow it into a small box that’s isolated from the American people, and the Republicans have to understand this.
“There’s a paper in which I outline the cynicism and the deliberate strategies of the Obama team. He doesn’t want to negotiate. He doesn’t want to solve problems. He wants to redefine the Republican Party so that it is unacceptable to a majority of American so he can win in 2014 and then have a free reign to govern for two years, imposing a very left-wing America on the rest of us.”
But Gingrich believes that Republicans will “probably” retain control of the House — and win the Senate as well.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” he adds. “I’ve written a paper at gingrichproductions.com
that outlines 23 areas we have to work on. Chairman Reince Priebus is doing the right thing: reaching out to minorities, touring the country, visiting with people. He really wants to build a broader, bigger, more inclusive Republican Party, and that’s what we have to do to win in 2014.”
As for Obama’s dire warnings about the effects of the sequester, Gingrich observes: “The president dramatically exaggerated the consequences and it’s beginning to sink in that there’s a lot of yelling that the sky is falling when in fact it wasn’t.
“It’ll probably slow down the economy a little bit in the short run, but it may make the economy a lot better in the long run by showing some willingness to cut government spending and reduce the deficit. That may actually strengthen the economy over the next two or three years.
“As Bob Woodward has pointed out it was President Obama who suggested the idea of the sequester, but the deeper question is why can’t Washington do this in an intelligent way? Why can’t we find practical, commonsense ways to cut spending rather than this kind of a sledgehammer approach that hits everything?”
Republicans are holding firm in their demands for entitlement cuts, while Obama wants higher taxes. Asked how the parties can get this resolved, Gingrich responds: “There’s a fundamental difference. President Obama already got his $600 billion tax increase, then promptly turned around and said he wanted another tax increase. Conservatives want a smaller government. They want less power in Washington. They want people to have more take-home pay and people to have more jobs and the ability to take care of themselves, not rely on Washington bureaucrats.
“So there is a fundamental difference and it’s going to take several years of working through this. It may well take to the elections of 2014 and 2016 to finally settle the issue.”
Commenting on reports that some Republicans are willing to consider tax increases as part of a major budget deal, Gingrich says: “The history of Washington all the way back to Ronald Reagan is that the Democrats promise you they’ll cut spending if only you’ll raise taxes. You end up raising taxes and they don’t cut spending. Reagan said in his diary that was one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency.
“I’d be very cautious and say that I don’t think we are under-taxed as a country, we’re overspent, and we need to take some very significant steps. Frankly, if you get economic growth and if you develop our mineral resources, payments from oil and gas could lead to as much as $60 billion a year in additional revenue. If the president were to okay the Keystone Pipeline through Canada, that’s 23,000 jobs. That’s 23,000 people paying taxes. That increases revenue without having to raise taxes.
“I’m not certain that there’s going to be another tax hike that’s very major, unless [Obama] ends up winning control of the House in 2014. His whole effort is frankly aimed at winning in 2014, not at governing this year, but at setting the stage for a fight where he can defeat the Republicans in 2014.”
As for reports that Speaker John Boehner would lose his post if he caves in and agrees to higher taxes, the former speaker tells Newsmax: “Speaker Boehner’s in a very difficult situation. I suspect two-thirds of his Republicans do not want to raise taxes, and they’ll fight very hard against raising taxes. That means as the party leader — if he truly is their leader — he has an obligation to lead them within the values that they’re expressing.”
The House this week votes on keeping the federal government operating through September when the fiscal year ends.
Asked if the GOP should avoid a government shutdown at all costs, or keep the option on the table, Gingrich says: “You can never say at all costs because then you allow the liberals to raise the costs astronomically.
“I would say their goal should be to find a way to keep the government running but to go through selectively and see things that can be cut out. There’s this totally nutty Department of Agriculture training program that describes the pilgrims as illegal immigrants, for example. They spent $2 million on it over the last year. You can eliminate that and no American would notice that it was gone.”
Turning to Obamacare, Gingrich says Republicans “should take every single major problem and use it as an excuse to reform the law towards more freedom, more local control, more relationship between you and your doctor, not you and a Washington bureaucrat. There’ll be lots of opportunities over the next two or three years to keep shifting the Obamacare bill so it actually ceases to be a national bureaucratic bill and allows us to return to you and your doctor being in charge of your healthcare.
“You could do that pretty effectively and the president would have a hard time stopping it.”
President Obama said in his State of the Union speech that if Congress doesn't act on key issues, he will by executive order.
Gingrich comments: “Certainly presidents are allowed to issue, all the way back to George Washington, executive orders within the law because their order is to execute the law. They can’t rewrite the law by executive order.
“Anytime he tries to do that, somebody should file a lawsuit and anytime he goes too far, the Congress ought to cut off funding. If the president’s behaving in ways that are dictatorial and outside the law, then Congress has an absolute obligation to cut off the money.”
Recently The Washington Post's Bob Woodward claimed that the White House threatened him for going public with a story that the sequester was something the White House created, and a number of other journalists have said they had similar experiences.
“White Houses tend to bully the media anytime the media doesn’t behave nicely to them,” Gingrich declares.
“John F. Kennedy, at one point, kicked the Herald Tribune’s reporter out of the White House Press Corps. It’s the rough and tumble of this business.
“Bob Woodward said some things that very much upset the Democrats because it undermined the president’s whole story. Woodward said here’s a guy running around the country blaming Republicans when it’s clear that President Obama himself came up with the sequester. At that point, the White House got very angry at him.
“Well, Bob Woodward is a big boy. He’s been around ever since he was the key factor in taking down Richard Nixon in 1973 during Watergate. He’s had a movie made about him. Robert Redford played Woodward. Woodward maybe is a little too sensitive. He knows this business. He’s knows this town as well as anybody in America. And he knows if you step on a president’s toes, one of the staff tries to kick you.”
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Asked what words of wisdom he has for the Republican Party moving forward, Gingrich says: “Focus on a better American future. Forget inside-the-party fighting. Forget being anti-Obama. Figure out what is it we can do as a nation to create jobs, what can we do to have better healthcare, what can we do to have better education? How can we get America moving again?
“If we’re the party trying to help the American people, we will be much better off than if we’re just the anti-Obama party.”
In his Newsmax interview, Gingrich also says it’s “very dangerous” for the United States to be propping up the regime in Egypt with new American aid.
And he asserts that the next Pope will be chosen not by the College of Cardinals but by “the Holy Spirit.”
Editor's Note: See other excerpts of the Newsmax interview with Newt Gingrich:
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