Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was a late entry into the CPAC speaking schedule, but his address a few hours after Mitt Romney’s repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet with a string of audience-pleasing agenda points.
Gingrich met with a number of supporters, mainly college Republicans, in a closed-door rally shortly before the address.
His campaign staff had promised the release of a “creative” document to accompany his speech: the handout to CPAC attendees was a chart comparing his stances on personal Social Security accounts, a flat tax, a low corporate tax rate, the elimination of the capital gains tax, and dollar reforms with those of his competitors. Under “more of the same” were mugshots of Romney, Rick Santorum, and President Obama.
The Friday release that carried over more into his address, though, was the unveiling of his “Conservative Dream Team” — dramatically pictured on the screen behind Gingrich as he spoke. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Fred Thompson, Michael Reagan, J.C. Watts, Chuck Norris, Oliver North, and more.
Newt reminded the crowd of this support to a hearty helping of applause.
He said that the fight of the Tea Party against establishment Republicans echoed the days of Barry Goldwater. “In many ways, this has been going on for a half century,” he said. And the first part of his speech, focused on what America can do when unleashed to fulfill its full potential, sounded much like a history professor.
“This campaign is a marginal threat” to the establishment, he said, “because we intend to change Washington, not accommodate it.”
He asked the crowd to raise their hands if they’d ever gone online to check a package’s progress with UPS or FedEx.
“This is not a theory,” he said. “It is a practical reality that we have the technology that enables us… to track 24 million packages a day.”
“The federal government today cannot find 11 million illegal immigrants,” Gingrich said.
Soon after, both Newt and FedEx were trending on Twitter.
He plowed into his vows of what he would do on Jan. 20, 2013, if elected and sworn into the Oval Office.
First on the docket: repeal ObamaCare. After that, repeal Dodd-Frank. Then Sarbanes-Oxley. And say goodbye to all White House czars.
And the Keystone pipeline? Back on, if it’s not too late with our northern neighbors.
“My message to Prime Minister Harper and the Canadian government is simple: You do not need a partnership with the Chinese,” he said. “Give the American people a few months.”
Gingrich also vowed to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and reinstate the Mexico City Policy, and repeal “every act of religious bigotry by the Obama administration.” He also promised to abolish the death tax, do a complete audit of the Federal Reserve, and demand that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke be removed if he already hasn’t resigned with the looming specter of Newt.
An audible chant of “Newt” arose at one point from the repeat rounds of applause, the first name chant heard in the candidates’ addresses.
Another big applause line? “We want to ensure no future president ever again bows to a Saudi king.”
The big difference in his administration, Gingrich said, would be “a paycheck president vs. a food-stamp president.”
“This is not about fairness,” he said. “…This is about maximizing economic growth.”
“I believe our goal should be to get your taxes down to 15 percent,” he added.
Gingrich appealed to those beyond the conservative base to come join his effort, which he admitted wasn’t as well-heeled as his competitors. “We don’t care who you once were, we don’t care what you once did, we need every American who wants to defend America to come together for this campaign,” he said.