Newt Gingrich Addresses YAF Conference--Won't Rule Out 2008 Run for the White House

At the Young America’s Foundation on Thursday, former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) outlined his five-point plan for conservatives to lead America forward.  In his rendition of the “Contract with America for the 21st century,” Gingrich listed the five major “challenges” facing America: terrorism, secularism, waning patriotism, competition from China and India, and the consequences of an aging society.

Gingrich’s “challenges” are enumerated in his book, Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America, released earlier this year by Regnery Publishing, a sister company of Human Events.  The book’s release fueled speculation that Gingrich, long seen as one of the nation’s leading conservative political thinkers, would seek the Republican nomination for President in 2008.  While Gingrich dismissed the idea that he would be a candidate Thursday, he refrained from completely ruling out the idea of a run for president.

In his address, Gingrich looked back on the accomplishments of the new Republican majority in 1995 as a part of the original “Contract with America,” a series of reforms House Republicans promised to achieve within the first 100 days.  But the former speaker also warned of the problems that lie ahead for America.

Gingrich emphasized border security, arguing that it was America’s “absolute total obligation to control our border.”  To achieve this, he announced his support of a “blue card guest worker program,” which would require immigrants crossing the border to be entered into a national database.  Gingrich criticized the current system as rewarding those who break the law to enter this country, “making a fool” of those immigrants who respectfully obey the legal process.  According to Gingrich, restoring order to border control is imperative to national security.

Looking ahead, Gingrich stressed the importance of math and science education, pointing out that the United States will lose its status as the world’s largest economy within generations unless this problem is addressed.  He also pointed to the importance of reforming healthcare and social security through personal accounts.  While refusing to call it a crisis today, Gingrich contended that incredible opportunities to fix the system were being missed.  “Everyday we fail” to pass personal account legislation, the former speaker said, “you lose a lifetime of interest.”

Gingrich painted an optimistic outlook for the future of the conservative movement and highlighted the gains that have been made in the outlook of the movement from just a generation ago.