Skip to comments.Newt Gingrich broadsides Romney, Obama at Bloomington rally (Packed house)
Posted on 02/07/2012 11:40:10 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Republican Newt Gingrich packed a Bloomington hotel ballroom Monday night, attacking President Barack Obama's economic policies and arguing that a vote for rival Mitt Romney would mean the continuation of the same failed ideas and big government spending.
On the eve of state's precinct caucuses, the presidential candidate's appearance at the Ramada Mall of America was his first campaign stop in Minnesota.
About 500 supporters turned out to hear the former House speaker promise to cut spending and taxes, turn welfare safety nets into springboards and stand firm against America's enemies abroad if elected president.
And,Gingrich said, the only way to do that is to make bold changes that will make the nation's leaders uncomfortable.
"The real underlying question in this campaign is whether we want real change on a large scale, or whether we want an election that has small differences, fighting over who is going to manage the decay," Gingrich said.
"You cannot stop the decay without very serious difficult political conflict in Washington."
The appearance here was Gingrich's first since a May book signing in Minneapolis, where a protester hit him with glitter for his stance on gay rights.
There were no glitter bombings Monday, but two gay-rights activists who interrupted his speech with chants were quickly escorted from the room to shouts of "Newt! Newt! Newt!"
Gingrich has had strong backing in Minnesota, but polls show that support slipping.
A survey by Public Policy Polling released Monday night put Rick Santorum in the lead, with 33 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers saying they'll back him in today's straw poll.
Romney came in second with 24 percent, with Gingrich and Texas congressman Ron Paul trailing with 22 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
About one-third said they could still change their mind, though.
Gingrich was leading in a similar poll conducted just more than two weeks ago, but his support in Minnesota has dropped 14 percentage points since then.
He told supporters that his overhauls, including simplifying the tax code, would make Washington leaders uncomfortable.
"My goal is to shrink the government to fit the revenues, not raise the revenues to fit the budget," Gingrich said, garnering the biggest applause of the night.
Gingrich attacked national GOP frontrunner Romney as too moderate to run against Obama, noting that Republicans lost presidential elections in 1976, 1996 and 2008 by nominating a moderate.
Romney's not conservative enough, Gingrich said, raising his record as a "pro-abortion, pro-gun control and pro-tax increases" governor of Massachusetts.
"Pitting that against Obama is very dubious," Gingrich said.
He renewed his criticism of Romney for saying last week that he was not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net.
"The safety net in its modern form is a spider web. It traps you into dependency," Gingrich said. "I want to replace the safety net with a springboard so that everybody has the opportunity to pursue happiness."
Gingrich took swipes at both Romney and Obama. He criticized the president's handling of the Egyptian government's plan to put 19 Americans on trial and attacked his energy policies, saying he would promote coal and gasoline production programs.
"I want us to produce so much energy that no American president ever again has to bow to a Saudi king, period," Gingrich said.
Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner and Republican National Committee member, introduced Gingrich.
Nathan Schmid will caucus for the first time today. The 18-year-old Burnsville resident backed Rep. Michele Bachmann but went with Gingrich once the Minnesotan dropped out of the presidential race.
"What we need right now is a conservative leader," Schmid said. "Across the board, clearly he is the most conservative candidate."
Pat Fournier, a 58-year-old Ham Lake resident, said Gingrich inspired her to participate in her first caucus as well, saying the former speaker will save the country from the president's health care overhaul.
“I want us to produce so much energy that no American president ever again has to bow to a Saudi king, period,”
Ok, THAT was a good one!
The title of your post captures Newt Gingrich very well. He’s one of the bold old lions in battle and we need his “true grit”.