Bill and Hillary Clinton have engaged in “old-fashioned race baiting” and are running a “deliberately racist” campaign to defeat Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich charged Saturday at a gathering of Florida Republicans.
“I think if a Republican did what the Clintons have done to Senator Obama, they would be driven out of public life as racist,” Gingrich told Newsmax following his speech to the Palm Beach County Republican Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. “I think that the Clinton strategy was deliberately racist.
“It is old-fashioned race baiting, and I think only the fact that they are Democrats let’s them get away with it,” he told Newsmax. “But in fact it is as despicable when done by a liberal Democrat as it would be if done by a Republican. And I’m very surprised that the news media hasn’t called them on it.”
Gingrich warned his fellow Republicans that the Clintons’ tag-team approach to taking apart Obama should be a warning to the eventual GOP nominee regarding what lies ahead in the general election campaign, assuming Hillary wins the nomination.
“The Clinton campaign is about the Clintons,” he told the spirited GOP audience of about 500. “The Clinton campaign has nothing to do with America. It has to do with an egocentric drive by a particular family to occupy the White House for 16 years -- which would make them longer serving than Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“No family in history has tried to amass power that directly, and in that kind of a self-serving way. Part of the reason you see President Clinton being so hysterical on the trail is that they had anticipated the coronation, and they were quite shocked to see someone had the temerity to run against them.”
Now that Obama has a chance to defeat Sen. Clinton, Gingrich says, “They find this so infuriating, such an act of treason against the royal family, that it’s got them almost unhinged.”
Gingrich described the Clintons’ political operation as “a mean machine.”
“I think Senator Obama is starting to learn just how mean they can be. Whoever the [GOP] nominee is had better study this primary campaign, and understand what October and November are going to be like. There will be no holds barred, no boundaries to the truth, no sense of shame, nothing outside the boundaries -- because these people really want power, and they’re really prepared to do what it takes. And that’s the depth of the struggle we’re in the middle of.”
Gingrich spent most of his speech discussing his new non-partisan organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future, and called for limited government and a simplified tax code.
After the event, the former Speaker told Newsmax he does not believe the Clintons’ recent attacks on Obama would hurt them in the general election.
“The Clintons have proven that if you throw the kitchen sink at them, they will install it,” he quipped. “These are the most relentlessly professional politicians of our generation, and anyone who thinks we’re going to beat them with anything less than an all out effort is just kidding themselves.”
Gingrich also reacted to a recent column by pundit Michael Reagan, in which Reagan said he would support Gingrich for the GOP nomination if the process were deadlocked and the choice had to be brokered at the GOP convention.
“I was very flattered by Mike Reagan’s comments, he’s a terrific guy,” Gingrich said. “I think we’re going to pick a nominee in the next few weeks, and I think it will be one of the guys currently running.”
Gingrich left open the possibility that he would accept an offer to run as vice president, however. “I would feel compelled to consider it,” he told Newsmax. “But it would depend on what the platform was, and what the agreement was about relative roles. But I certainly would not turn it down out of hand.”
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