Skip to comments.Gingrich, Santorum work to sway voters at GOP forum at Alabama Theatre (Newt has the fire)
Posted on 03/13/2012 1:59:37 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama --- Obie Evans walked into tonight's GOP presidential forum at the Alabama Theatre in shorts, a tall floppy red, white and blue hat and two candidate stickers pasted on either side of his white sports shirt.
On his left side was a Rick Santorum sticker. On his right, a Newt Gingrich sticker.
"I really, really could not decide between those two," Evans said of Santorum and Gingrich.
Four hours later, Evans walked out of the old theater still with both stickers showing but his mind almost made up.
"It's not 100 percent, but I think I'm going to vote for Newt," said Evans, who lives in Minor in western Jefferson County. "I think he just showed a lot of fight tonight, a get-after-it-mentality and I like that."
Evans said he was impressed with Santorum, too, but that he felt the former Pennsylvania senator didn't show the fire in the belly quality that Gingrich did.
"Both boys said a lot of things I agree with, but it's the way Newt said it that I think has me going with him Tuesday," Evans said.
Tonight's forum came on the eve of Alabama's Democratic and Republican primaries. Voters at the polls today will also choose candidates for Congress, judicial seats and other offices.
And unlike in past election years, Alabama's primary figures importantly in the race for the nomination for president.
Both in the conversations overheard leaving the theater and in more than a dozen-plus interviews outside, the opinions expressed consistently, even among some Santorum supporters, were that Gingrich had probably out-performed Santorum in the forum.
"I came here tonight a Santorum vote and I'm voting for him tomorrow, but you have to give Gingrich credit. He had a lot of energy and he performed really well," said Sandra Williams of Alabaster.
If Gingrich's strong showing in the forum translates into votes in Tuesday's GOP presidential primary, it will be good news for Gingrich, an adopted son of the Deep South, whose presidential campaign has poured time and dollars into winning in both Alabama and Mississippi in an all-out effort to keep his candidacy viable against front-runner Mitt Romney and Santorum, who is battling Gingrich to emerge as the most conservative alternative to Romney.
Romney did not take part in today's forum. However, he and his wife were both in the state today. Romney was in a rainy Mobile where he celebrated his 65th birthday with a rally at a cafe with the comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Later in the day, Ann Romney made a quick trip into the state where she made stops in Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville. Santorum, before today's forum appearance, made a stop at one of Tuscaloosa's most famous landmarks, the original Dreamland Bar-B-Que. He closed his day with a late night rally in Montgomery.
But it was the GOP forum that, by far, drew the most interest. The 2,000 seats in the theater were packed out early to listen to the two candidates, who never appeared together for the event.
Instead, Santorum took the stage and talked for more than a half-hour. He stressed the kind of traditional values he would champion as president: Love of God, family, country, obedience to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence with a smaller federal government.
Santorum said Barack Obama's America has a very different set of values.
"They believe you get your rights from the government," Santorum said. "Their view is, 'You will do what you are told with your new rights.' The problem is, the government is not the source of rights. ... We know where they come from. It's in the Declaration of Independence. They come from. ... the creator. President Obama sees an America that is great because it takes money from some and gives it to others."
Santorum, as he has at other stops, hit Romney and Gingrich as men who have records in health care policy, in budget policy, in energy policy who make them not the best candidate to go up against Obama.
Gingrich began his talk as he always does, hitting Obama on the high price of gas and what he calls Obama's failed energy policy.
As president, Gingrich said he would open up offshore lands to drilling in addition to more government lands currently protected from drilling. He said he would immediately move to approve a new oil pipeline from Canadian to Texas. He hit Obama repeatedly for his call for more biofuels using algae and other materials.
"I believe that in the years ahead, maybe algae will be a good source of energy, but algae won't fill up your car's tank this summer, "Gingrich said as the hall erupted in laughter.
On Obama, Gingrich challenged him.
"I'll let him run this fall as President Algae in support of $10 a gallon gas and I'll run as President Drilling and supporting $2.50 cent a gallon gas and let's see who wins," Gingrich said.
Gingrich stressed his experience as what is needed to change Washington, and he stressed how important Tuesday's primary is to him.
"Tomorrow really matters," Gingrich told the crowd. "Experience really matters. I hope you will elect a leader who has that experience and who can beat Barack Obama."
Tom Rogers of Calera came out of today's forum just as he went in.
"I came in believing that Santorum best spoke to my issues, best expressed how I want the president to feel about freedom, about a faith in God you don't hide in public life and about the life of the unborn," Rogers said. "I leave tonight comfortable with Sen. Santorum and I'll vote for him."
Kitty Lester came into tonight leaning toward Gingrich but having not ruled out Santorum. She ruled him out after the performance by Gingrich.
"Sen. Santorum was fine in what he said. Didn't say a thing I disagreed with," Lester said. "But, did you hear Newt? Did you hear that fight in him? He's ready to debate Obama right now, tonight and beat him. Really, I didn't see a lot of difference between Santorum or Newt but there was a difference and it was Newt is ready to fight, fight and fight. ... He has my vote."
Jon Drake of Prattville drove up for the forum undecided. He left wearing a Newt button.
"Santorum was really good but Newt rules," said Drake. "I want the guy who takes on the president to be just as convinced as Obama is that he's right. We need passion and Newt has it."
...I have only goodwill toward Newt and would never think of debasing him as you all seem to enjoy doing to Rick Santorum..
..But today your scurrilous, vindictive, slamming of a good man nauseates me to the nth degree!!
How you and some of you others can sleep at night with such a hatred is beyond me!
WHERE IS YOUR SENSE OF CIVIL DISCOURSE!
I came on this thread because I too had an interest in it....I too watched the debate.
Are you so insecure about your own candidate that you feel the need to beat up mine??????????????????
And I will not cede the candidate threads to a small bunch of Freepers who cannot even discuss the merits of one candidate vs the other without resorting to falsehoods and nasty comments!
The type of mandate Gingrich is in favor of is no different from automobile insurance. People are not required to buy insurance from one provider, but are required to buy it or pay a bond, which is done in some states for uninsured drivers or drivers who can’t get insurance for some reason. This is a reasonable solution.
Santorum is a very deceitful person, which is the thing I like least about him. I used to think it was just the Jimmy Carter sweater-vest and his preachy, Jimmy Carter manner, but now I think it’s his lies, both about his own past and about that of others.
What is Rick’s plan?
Oh cheezey grits...what a stunt! You know Romney had never heard of Jeff Foxworthy until someone on his staff insisted he hire him to demonstrate his "Southerness."
“...called Paul Ryan’s budget Right Wing social engineering...”
Nope, Newt did NOT do that. Go do your research, and stop believing out-of-context distortions from Romney’s tools. Newt’s on record praising Ryan’s budget more than once.
“Mitt Romneys transformation into a cheesy grits- and catfish-loving, yall-uttering good ol boy in the face of tight contests in Mississippi and Alabama today is being panned by critics skeptical Southern party officials and pundits.
If youre going to pander, at least pander well, and this isnt pandering well, said Stephen Gordon, a Republican consultant based in Birmingham, Ala. The former Bay State governor is a Yankee, Gordon said, and will always face skepticism no matter how many catfish filets he raves about.
People in the Deep South have a bit of a natural distrust for Northerners, especially folks from the Northeast, said Gordon, who is not affiliated with any campaign in the Republican presidential contest. There are cultural differences, stemming all the way back to the Civil War, and they affect the way people perceive Mr. Romney.
Romney, who praised the local delicacy known as cheesy grits during a campaign stop in Jackson, Miss., last week, told a crowd in Mobile, Ala., yesterday that hes developing a taste for catfish, after telling a South Carolina restaurant owner that hes not a catfish man earlier this year.....................
Does Romney think he can win over Southerners by marching around with the redneck comedian? asked Chris Brown, the former executive director of the Alabama Republican Party, who is supporting Romney. Does he think were all rednecks?.......
Does Ryan Now Agree with Gingrich? [And now, here's the rest of the story] ...There is a perception lingering about NewtGingrich that he was a critic of PaulRyan's budget plan and therefore a critic of conservative fiscal policy in the House of Representatives. Is that conclusion true? Or is it an oversimplification? Like many misconceptions floating around during a heated political season, it is not true. Let's examine the facts."
On April 5, 2011, Representative PaulRyan, the HouseBudgetCommittee chairman, introduced the Republican budget for 2012. Included in that budget was a premium support model for Medicare. This budget was based on a similar plan previously laid out by Ryan called TheRoadmapforAmerica'sFuture. That document had been a RepublicanParty policy call to change the budget and put it on sound fiscal grounds compared to the Democrats' unwillingness to budget at all and tax and spend into infinity. The Harry Reid-run Senate has not passed a budget for over three years, even though they are required to by law.
Gingrich praised the Ryan plan in an article in Human Events on April 13. He called it the most serious attempt by an elected official to rethink our public finances and the modern welfare state in a generation. That is quite a compliment from a former speaker of the House to a current committee chairman. Using a golfing metaphor, Gingrich celebrated the plan, calling it a Ryan "eagle." Is that comparison a negative critique, or is it commendation? One week later, on April 20, Gingrich in the same space heaped more praise on the plan. He compared PaulRyan to PaulRevere, one of our nation's great heroes, and compared the Ryan Medicare plan with his own previous welfare reform. Why would he disparage something he would compare to one of his greatest achievements? Gingrich later said he would have voted for the plan if he had had the opportunity......" .....
And Newt is STILL in favor of the individual mandate and if he can’t debate Obama on THAT really big issue he is a defeated man walking
Sorry, that is false. Newt has explained before he made a mistake on that issue and has since changed his stance on that. Last night he stated clearly he would appeal Obama care.
Romney was in a rainy Mobile where he celebrated his 65th birthday with a rally at a cafe with the comedian Jeff Foxworthy
Oh cheezey grits...what a stunt! You know Romney had never heard of Jeff Foxworthy until someone on his staff insisted he hire him to demonstrate his “Southerness.”
It’s fake and Romney is a fake. He’s a big box Walmart candidate and Newt is that darling charming little store on the corner — the one who always served its customers well and offered the BEST merchandise ...at a time when Americans built stuff, sold stuff, and were prosperous. We need to get back to our little corner stores. We need to stop buying all this chinese crap. We need to stop buying Romney’s crap.
Your holier than thou doesn’t wash.
Look at your tagline.
That says it ALL.
It says, God called Santorum, and that’s all you need to believe and everyone else can go jump, they are fighting God if they disagree with YOU and your “called one”.
BUt you are too blinded to notice, your very tagline is the wrong way to approach others, but no, you flout it while condemning the approach of others.
Was that you at the forum...the shrieking woman who kept yelling out RICK!!!! when everyone else was silent?
She had no clue there was anything wrong with HER, obviously.
I humbly think that Newt and Rick should flip a coin to see who’s going to be Vice President.
Quite a few of you ....on a daily basis....make coarse comments against Rick Santorum.
...Those of us who like & respect him find the anger towards him unacceptable.
My tagline expresses a part of what I believe.
You sound very angry toward me because of my...tagline?
I really don't get you and some of the others (as I've said before)
I don't go around expressing anger and contempt toward Newt Gingrich.
Why do you all need to express yourselves like this?
In fact, I was listening to him in the debate and thought he sounded quite good.
Why do you need to tear Rick Santorum down?
Why in the world would my tagline bother you?
If you don’t see why not, there’s no use explaining.
If I’m not mistaken, I believe Newt is no longer in favor of any flavor of mandate. I think I heard him say that.
I won’t favor a mandate, period.
Better to incentivize people to make insurance more affordable and more competitive. In my book, if in the end someone is running up a large medical bill who could’ve afforded insurance and refused to get any, and refuses to pay up after the fact, the medical care facility should take them to the cleaners.
If any laws need strengthening to facilitate this, then fine.
It’s a government manufactured “crisis”. Same old story. Government intervenes in the marketplace, and screws things up. Declares a “crisis”, and swoops in.
Newt’s mandate WAS a different flavor from the Romney/Obama mandate, as livius pointed out.
But it WAS a mandate of sorts, and he is wise to have decided they are all unconstitutional.
Your point is crucial, too...a mandate is a government interference in the private marketplace, and like Ronald Reagan said, the most fearsome words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.
I didn’t defend a word she said.
She doesn’t believe him. She chose her wording, not me.
Look at your tagline and tell me you aren’t telling everyone who disagrees or disbelieves you and your called one that they are working against God.
We aren’t stupid.
But you are blinded by your emotionalism about the candidate you believe God called.
That makes your tagline fine, while you busily accuse others of inappropriate remarks.
If your tagline is your opinion, it’s your right to have it.
But it speaks volumes to others who disagree with you and with Santorum and are for another.
In fact, a compatriot of yours on Santorum threads and on contrary threads, said flat out that I and others were working for the devil because we opposed Santorum.
Now let me inform you, I’ve been a Christian and a Bible student for the vast majority of my life, and the Bible divides between God and Satan, when it comes to things God has chosen to take a hand in. If God has decided to do a work, and has let that be known, and you are found opposing his work, indeed you are on the devil’s side.
But God didn’t let it be known that he has called Santorum. That’s what YOU think.
The rest of us are free to make our decisions based on various criteria irrespective of whether God has chosen or has let anything be known.
You are free to get all victim like, and I am free to say your tagline is offensive to people who do not agree that God called Santorum, because we don’t know that, and because it implies we are against God.
And you can’t affront us with it without blowback.
OK, than get Rick humble and let Newt take on the obamanation.
That’s OK with me, too. But, if Newt is no more than talk, don’t blame it on me.
Who are you, that I should blame anything on?
Newt has done plenty, therefore, I already know he’s more than talk.
Most of it was spectacular with a few clunkers (which he admits) thrown in.
And Newt, compared to Santorum??
Like I said, if you don’t get why the Presidency and Vice Presidency between the two of them shouldn’t be decided by a coin flip, there’s no use explaining.