Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich tells Newsmax his campaign is likely to win a significant number of delegates in Super Tuesday's primaries and predicts that wins in several upcoming contests will put his campaign “in high gear.”
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, the former speaker of the House also charges that GOP rival Mitt Romney is “very phony” in trying to defend his healthcare reform in Massachusetts, asserts that the United States can pay off its national debt by expanding domestic oil and gas production, says there likely is “very great tension” between the American and Israeli governments — and insists America must do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Polls show Gingrich with a huge lead in his home state of Georgia, one of the states that is holding its GOP primary on Super Tuesday. The state has the most delegates up for grabs, 76.
Gingrich says his prospects in other states show he's heading for a comeback. With some states like the much-desired Ohio awarding delegates proportionately, not winner-take-all, Gingrich is hoping to carve for himself a significant number of the 419 delegates at stake Tuesday.
“I think we’ll do well enough tomorrow night to move on, " Gingrich said.
“I’ve said all along both for Governor Romney in Michigan and Senator Santorum in Pennsylvania, as well as myself, you pretty much have to cover your home state because that’s where folks know you best, and it now looks like we’re going to carry Georgia by four or five times the margin that Governor Romney got in Michigan,” he says.
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“The latest polls in Tennessee look very, very good. Senator Fred Thompson’s helping me there. We don’t have any polls in Oklahoma but we have a very good sense of progress. It’s a very exciting time.
“We’ve also been campaigning in Ohio (66 delegates). We think we’ll come in third but we’ll have a real opportunity to pick up a number of delegates. And we have some hopes in Idaho and North Dakota and Alaska, where Todd Palin in making calls for us. We also have some longshot hopes in Massachusetts where a group of conservative Republicans are very unhappy with the Romney governorship, which they thought was far too liberal."
Gingrich is already looking beyond March 6 to next week's primaries.
"We hope to win Alabama and Mississippi and Kansas next week, which would really put the campaign in high gear.”
Gingrich discussed a 2009 op-ed piece that Romney wrote for USA Today urging Obama to learn lessons from the healthcare reform plan Romney implemented as governor of Massachusetts, Romneycare, and to model his plan after Romney’s.
“I think that op-ed by Romney proves what Tim Pawlenty says, that it was Obamneycare. You can’t read that editorial Governor Romney wrote back then and not reach the conclusion that he was outlining what became Obamacare, clearly calling for a national mandate.
“And I think it makes all his recent explanations [why he opposes Obamacare] look very phony and, frankly, very lacking in honesty.”
President Obama on Sunday gave a pro-Israeli address at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), acknowledging that Israel has the right to defend itself against an attack from Iran. But Gingrich remains critical of the administration’s policies toward Israel.
“The president sounds better than he has at any time before but I don’t see any action,” he declares.
As to what options the United States has in dealing with Iran, aside from military action, Gingrich says America can devise a strategy like the one President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II developed where they used “every method short of war” to undermine the Soviet Union.
“I think if we could bring that kind of covert pressure to bear, we could very rapidly destabilize the current dictatorship and begin to create a different environment in Iran,” he adds.
Gingrich has proposed a new energy plan he says is vital to solving the deficit and national debt problems.
“The best estimate we’ve seen is that if we opened up federal land and offshore development, the royalties that would be paid would be between $16 and $18 trillion,” he tells Newsmax.
“That amount of money, if you didn’t spend it, would literally be enough to pay off the national debt. The key would be to get to a balanced budget, which I’ve done before. When I was speaker we passed four consecutive balanced budgets. So literally if you were to put the royalties from oil and gas to one side you would be in a position where you could pay off the entire federal debt over the next generation.”
President Obama has issued an apology to the people of Afghanistan over the burning of Qurans by U.S. military personnel, which Gingrich calls “a very dangerous thing.”
Instead, he says, “the president should have said these are Qurans that have been defaced by Muslim extremists who were being held prisoner. They were being used to carry messages back and forth. And he should have called on the clerics to condemn them.
“Second I don’t believe you apologize when young Americans are being killed. It increases the danger. You’ll notice now that the U.N. General Secretary’s representative has said that he thought the Americans should now be tried because the president has admitted guilt. I think it’s a very dangerous thing for the president of the United States to get involved at this level.”
Gingrich aslo addressed recent polls that show about 31 percent of Latinos likely to vote Republican in the remaining primaries are still undecided. Asked how he might seek to capture their vote, Gingrich says: “First of all we have to recognize that they have the very same pocketbook issues everybody else has.
“When I talk about getting back to $2.50-a-gallon gasoline and having an American energy policy that would mean that no American president would ever again bow to a Saudi king, we get a very positive response and that includes from Latinos.
“In addition there are faith-based issues, the fact that President Obama is declaring war on the Catholic Church, which is seen by many Latinos as a war on their church.”
Gingrich also addressed recent comments by Reverend Franklin Graham who said that the Obama administration is not doing enough to stop the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa.
“I think Reverend Graham is exactly right,” Gingrich states.
“You have a president who is immediately willing to apologize to extremists and fanatics in Islam while he is attacking the Catholic Church in the United States.
“The fact that the Iranians for example have sentenced to death a Christian minister is something that should be horrifying to all of us. The fact that churches are being burned in Nigeria and Egypt and Malaysia by Muslim militants is something we should be openly and aggressively protesting.”
Editor's Note: Gingrich to Newsmax — Obama Fails Israel on Nuclear Iran
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