In a speech at an Iowa Nationwide luncheon, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich hit many of his major campaign themes and then signed the Americans for Securing the Border Pledge.
The need for America to have a broad vision at this time was the theme of Gingrich’s speech as it has been one of the central tenants of his campaign. Gingrich said recently that his rival for the nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is a “very competent manager” but that he is a “change agent”.
In this speech in Iowa, Gingrich brought in history to show why this is such a critical moment in American history for a real change agent. He spoke about how Abraham Lincoln envisioned a future America that would be crisscrossed by railroad tracks.
Gingrich also mentioned the difference between the economic strategies between himself and the Republican Party, and President Obama and the Democratic Party.
Gingrich mentioned Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures, which was delivered to congress when he was the treasury secretary under President George Washington. It explained how America needed to have a diversified economy if it was to become a world power, and was a visionary document about America’s dynamic economic future. This was compared to what he called the “Ailinsky tactics” of the Obama Administration that impede economic growth.
According to Gingrich, this campaign will be the “widest choice in American history” between two dramatically different world views, represented by Republicans on one side and President Obama on the other.
Echoing his constant theme of working collectively with the American people, Gingrich said of what is necessary to make real change, “This will be so hard I don’t ask anyone to be for me… the scale of change necessary will need you to be with me.”
“If we give up American history we will cease to be American,” Gingrich said.
It is also important for Americans to reengage in the public sphere according to Gingrich, and said that as Americans “we have to grow citizenship at home.”
Gingrich then touched upon many of his own ideas for the future. Including ways to make higher education both better and more affordable, how to help poor children gain the life skills they need to compete in the future and how to responsibly reform America’s immigration policies and stem the flow of illegal immigration.
Gingrich also spoke about why he prefers ethanol subsidies called “gasohol”, a popular measure in corn growing states like Iowa, but less popular in the conservative movement as a whole. He defended on the grounds that it helps keep America safe and independent.
“Economic nationalism makes sense when you are talking about national security,” Gingrich said.
On higher education, Gingrich mentioned the College of the Ozarks, which implements a student work program that makes kids work at the school to receive an education. The students don’t receive college tuition aid but work on the school grounds. This makes the College of the Ozarks both successful and exceedingly efficient.
Having students and young people work was a major part of his education reform ideas and is part of his campaign’s larger theme of making this a country of “paychecks not foodstamps”. He advocated that young children be given the opportunity to be paid for such things as reading books. This encourages and incentivizes hard work, and also gives poor children a chance to see the fruit of their labor.
At the end of his speech, Gingrich was asked to sign a pledge, created by Americans for Securing the Border, to fix immigration policies in the United States and stem the flow of immigration.
The pledge reads:
I, Newt Gingrich, candidate for President of the United States, pledge to support and speedily expedite the construction of a date-certain, secure multi-layered fence (fence locations to be specified by the Border Patrol or Homeland Security) across the US-Mexican border to be completed prior to the end 2013.
The dramatic rise for Gingrich in the polls has mostly come in popularity and not organization. He performs exceptionally well in setting where he is given a platform to speak at length, and this event in Iowa was no different. Gingrich currently leads in Iowa polls and has a comfortable lead over the second place Romney.