LAS VEGAS, NEVADA–Fresh off last night’s heated and contentious Republican debate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich made a cameo appearance at the Western Republican Leadership Conference this morning. Entering to a standing ovation, Mr. Gingrich condemned President Obama, saying that he is a “radical and he’s incompetent.”
Mr. Gingrich has seen a recent surge in support among Republican primary voters. In the latest PPP poll, the former Speaker receives 15% of the vote and comes in third place behind Herman Cain at 30% and Mitt Romney at 22%. Sharing the stage in the Venetian Showroom with pollster Frank Luntz, Mr. Gingrich compared 1994’s transformative election with the 2012 race.
“Barack Obama is giving us the greatest opportunity to win a decisive, realigning election in our life time. For the very first time we can begin to imagine replacing the center-left majority that began in 1932 with Franklin Roosevelt,” Mr. Gingrich said. He went on to say that Republicans have that opportunity because, “you have to have both of them to come together to win realigning elections: he is a radical and he’s incompetent.”
During his 15 minute address, Mr. Gingrich also talked about his wish to have seven Lincoln/Douglas-style debates against President Obama, should Mr. Gingrich become the nominee. He even went as far as to joke that he would allow the President to use a teleprompter, remarking, “I mean if you had to defend ObamaCare, wouldn’t you want a teleprompter?”
The Lincoln/Douglas-style debates can only benefit the Speaker. Mr. Gingrich is seen as a very competent policymaker and great thinker in the Republican party, and in a one-on-one format without a moderator, he can certainly spend ample amounts of time shaping his thoughts and ideas. After last night’s debate, Mr. Gingrich’s spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said to HUMAN EVENTS, “The debates allow for Newt to go out and be Newt…when you let Newt be Newt, you are going to get a good statesman.”
When Mr. Gingrich finished, he and his wife Callista spent some time in the audience, shaking hands. Speaker Gingrich is due in Phoenix, Arizona this evening, where he will be hosting a town-hall meeting.