After a barrage of negative attacks lowered his poll numbers, Newt Gingrich, who still has a chance to win the Iowa caucus even as his campaign reminds reporters that a fourth place finish would suffice because South Carolina is Gingrich’s “must win” state, pivoted his message to focus more squarely on how his past would be prologue on the economy.
“My basic message for the next six days is simple: if you want jobs and economic growth, I know how to do it,” Gingrich said at campaign events across Iowa yesterday.
Gingrich also snagged two key endorsements to help him make the case that he has the experience to fix the economy with pro-growth policies, and that he was not “an amateur” in a time of economic crisis.
Art Laffer, referred to as the godfather of supply side economics, endorsed Gingrich and said that Gingrich was the best surgeon to operate on the country’s ailing economy.
Laffer, who gave Herman Cain advice on the economy, said that he volunteered to endorse Gingrich because Gingrich has “done it before.”
Laffer added that when he voted for Bill Clinton he was also, in essence, voting for then-Speaker Gingrich.
“Newt Gingrich is far and away the best person to bring this country back to prosperity,” Laffer said.
Earlier, Laffer, in a statement, said, “Like Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts and pro-growth policies, Newt’s low individual and corporate tax rates, deregulation and strong dollar monetary policies will create a boom of new investment and economic growth leading to the creation of tens of millions of new jobs over the next decade.”
Laffer also said that “Newt’s record of helping Ronald Reagan pass the Kemp-Roth tax cuts and enacting the largest capital gains tax cut in history as Speaker of the House shows he can get this plan passed and put it into action.”
Michael Reagan also endorsed Gingrich by describing Gingrich as a “man who fought in Congress for my father’s programs.” Reagan, to Newsmax, said that though “millions of dollars have been spent in negative ads against him,” voters should remember that “Newt became a leading ally of my father” by helping “Congress push through massive tax cuts” and working to “secure a military buildup that helped defeat the Soviet Union.”
Reagan also said under Gingrich’s leadership, “Congress also limited the welfare state” and, as a “leader in the Reagan Revolution,” Gingrich, according to Reagan, “helped keep my father’s legacy alive.”
The Gingrich campaign noted that his Jobs and Growth bus tour throughout Iowa is intended to draw a “clear contrast” with Romney about Romney’s “timid response to Barack Obama on the economy and lack of a bold plan of his own for jobs and growth.”
In a CNN poll released on Wednesday, which may have been methodologically faulty because it only surveyed Republicans (Independents and Democrats can also caucus), Gingrich was in fourth behind Messrs. Romney, Paul, and Santorum. A Rasmussen poll released yesterday had the same standings. Meanwhile, an American Research Group poll released yesterday showed Romney in the lead with Gingrich and Paul statistically tied for second place.
In the waning moments before Iowans go to caucus, Gingrich is hoping that his focus on the economy can boost his campaign much like his focus on American exceptionalism did earlier.