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Newt Gingrich

It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Iowa DOES Represent the Country, Thank You Very Much!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Where else could Barack Obama have gotten his start except by winning the Iowa Caucuses and where else could Pat Robertson been given a chance to even try for the toughest job in the nation? Nowhere, I say!

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The Takeaway

Days Before The Iowa Caucus, Is Santorum In and Gingrich Out?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

With five days to go until the Iowa caucus, all six contenders for the Republican presidential nomination are making their rounds in small towns across Iowa. Newt Gingrich's poll numbers continue to fall in the Hawkeye state, opening up the possibility for another candidate to overtake the lead. Hopefuls who have stuck it out since the beginning — like Rick Santorum and Ron Paul — have experienced a recent uptick in popularity.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Be Thankful for Iowa

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Politics is a professional sport here, and nothing is more important than the presidential caucuses. We have saved the rest of you Americans the horrible job of winnowing the field of GOP Presidential candidates.

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The Takeaway

Ahead of Caucus, Paul Surges in Iowa

Thursday, December 22, 2011

With less than two weeks before the January 3 Iowa caucus, the GOP presidential hopefuls are making their final push in the Hawkeye state. Recent days have seen libertarian candidate Ron Paul surge to the front of the pack, a position most recently held by Newt Gingrich. With his popularity among young voters, his consistency on issues, and populist rhetoric about "ending" the Federal Reserve, Paul has formed a broad coalition that has made him the latest front-runner in Iowa. But will it be enough to sustain a national campaign to beat presumptive nominee Mitt Romney?

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Simpson on Budget Dealings and Gingrich

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recap from It's a Free Country.

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, US Congressman (R-NJ 5th) Scott Garrett discussed unfinished business including the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits.

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Transportation Nation

Newt Gingrich: Rail Visionary, Lover of Oil

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Former speaker Newt Gingrich. Photo by Gage Skidmore from Flickr.

It’s hard to know for sure how former House Speaker New Gingrich might handle transportation as President. Of his Republican rivals who’ve been governor you can easily paint portraits of the metro-friendly moderate or the big-thinking privatizer. But Gingrich has never overseen a department of transportation, never appointed a transportation commissioner, never signed off on (or killed) a major project.

His Congressional record isn't terribly helpful. In the House, Gingrich didn’t seem focused on mobility issues. An analysis of his track record on Project Votesmart reveals that Gingrich did not cast a vote on many of the key transportation bills in the 1990s, including the 1998 TEA-21 reauthorization bill, which succeeded by a large margin. Newt’s famous Contract with America didn’t deal with bridges or trains or roads (the “Taking Back our Streets Act” dealt with crime) and the summary of legislative proposals that make up his newer-fangled "21st Century Contract with America" never mentions “transportation” or “infrastructure” (aside from military infrastructure).

So all we have is his rhetoric. And in that, Gingrich has had his bold moments, though. In 2007, in the months following the publication of his book A Contract with the Earth, when he was filming public service announcements with Nancy Pelosi, Gingrich was talking up “common sense environmentalism” and a green jobs revolution, dreaming of a “Hydrogen car, or a car that would get 1,000 miles to a gallon of petroleum.” He suggested offering cash prizes of a tax-free billion dollars to attract “lots of inventors other than auto companies in Detroit.” He beamed thinking about a composite materials car made in America, or a hydrogen engine made in America.

“If you look at the amount we spent to maintain military capability in the Persian Gulf,” he said, “if you had spent the same amount to create a revolution in energy, we’d almost certainly be deeply into a hydrogen economy by now.”

Gingrich has consistently been in favor of private companies doing technologically cool things for the health of America (and for profit). In his book, Real Change, he included a chapter endorsing improved rail and more modernized airports. “As the leading economy in the world,” he wrote, “America should have the best air and rail transportation in the world, but we don’t.”

Why not? Because of unions, Gingrich believes. “Unfortunately, the air traffic controller union understands that a twenty-first-century space-based air traffic control system would reduce the importance and number of air traffic controllers.” And the three reasons America hasn’t seen the kind of high-speed rail investment one saw in France, Japan, and China? “Union work rules make it impossible,” for one, Gingrich writes. For another, "regulations and litigation involved in large-scale construction...has become time consuming and expensive.” And third: “pork barrel politicians waste money subsidizing absurdly uneconomic routes.”

Gingrich identified the three corridors he believed were “very conducive to this kind of high-speed train investment,” and they may sound familiar: a system between Boston and Washington, from San Diego to San Francisco, and from Miami to Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

“I support—and I’m confident that most Americans support—a twenty-first-century rail system that is privately built, run efficiently, and capable of earning its own way,” Gingrich wrote, allowing that this “might even require an initial program of tax incentives or other help (just as the transcontinental railroad did). But it just makes sense that we the people of the United States should have a railroad system that works for us, and not for the Amtrak bureaucracy and their unions.” For non-high-speed corridors, he suggested turning the rail lines over to the states.

In 2009, Gingrich held forth with his former colleague Dick Gephardt at an event sponsored by Building America's Future and the National Governors Association (video via Streetsblog). He spoke in favor of user fees over taxes, and privatization over government bureaucracies, but agreed with BAF co-founder (and former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania) Ed Rendell that America needed a capital budget. "No American thinks they buy houses on annual appropriations," he said. He asserted that the American public understood capital investment, that we were being held back by an unimaginative government, and that we needed a program of "very large megaprojects that arouse the nation" -- specifically faster rail lines.

But as Matt Yglesias noted in May of this year, within 24 hours of announcing his candidacy, Gingrich went on the radio to defend oil companies, railing against the “anti-energy, anti-American” ideas of the far left, who “don’t understand how the real world works.”

“Liberals don’t like us liking bigger vehicles, so they want to find a way to punish us economically,” Gingrich said, accusing Obama of schadenfreude over higher gas prices. “Hit our pocketbook, make us change, because they’d like all of us to live in big cities in high rises, taking mass transit.”

One might perceive in Newt’s pro-oil posture a bit of political practicality. When selling books and not soliciting votes, he’s shown a greater imagination for an America that lives and works differently. Sometimes his imagination has run rather wild, as when he became enamored with the idea of giant space mirrors that could distribute sunlight to prevent darkness, lower crime, prevent frosts in agricultural areas -- and light the interstate highways.

Those in the transportation business seem to be likewise unsure of where Gingrich’s heart lies. Open Secrets shows that Newt has raised a paltry $19,450 from identifiable transportation-sector contributors this year. That’s just 4% of the $485,000 Romney has raised from the industry, a quarter of the haul won by Ron Paul, and $2,000 less than Rick Santorum received.

More candidate analysis: Mitt Romney: Metro-Friendly Moderate?, Rick Perry's Trans-Texas Corridor Problem.

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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It's A Free Country ®

1992 Redux? Rumors of a Clinton and Bush Showdown

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just like in 1992, we've got a sluggish economy, restless independent voters, and a president who hasn't been able to translate his foreign policy successes into solid approval ratings. And now, there's gossip about a Bush and a Clinton in the race.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Don't Be Surprised When Ron Paul Wins Iowa

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ron Paul has drawn huge and passionate crowds, which the media could not report because Paul was not one of the “viable” front-runners who could get the nomination.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Debate Report Card - Paul Flops, Bachmann Attacks, Perry as Tebow?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ron Paul was clearly a loser in this debate. He got into an unnecessary argument over U.S. foreign policy towards Iran, nuclear weapons, and reinforced his support for a neo-isolationist foreign policy.

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The Takeaway

A Review of the Iowa Republican Debate

Friday, December 16, 2011

Republican presidential candidates held their final debate last night in Sioux City just weeks before the Iowa caucus takes place on January 3. In the Fox News debate candidates attempted to draw distinctions from one another and defend their record to conservative voters. The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows Newt Gingrich gaining ground on consistent front runner Mitt Romney. But some voters are still undecided.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Tonight's Debate is Ron Paul's Moment

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If voters can briefly look past Bachmann's inexperience, Perry's ineptitude and Gingrich's infidelities, why not give Paul a second glance?

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It's A Free Country ®

Gingrich, the Firebrand Statesman

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You're looking less mouthy these days,” an elderly woman told Gingrich when he was signing books in Manchester, New Hampshire.

"You're right,” he said. “I'm working on that.”

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Romney, Gingrich and the French Connection

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

After months - if not years - of anti-intellectual, willfully isolationist, science-skeptical positioning, they've found themselves with two front-runners who are just a little too worldly.

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The Takeaway

In New Hampshire, Gingrich Puts Romney in His Sights

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Newt Gingrich has seen a stunning reversal in his political fortunes in recent weeks. As the Republican base continues to seek an alternative to presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, Gingrich has soared in national polls. Gingrich's public schedule this week began in the battleground primary state of New Hampshire, where he continues to trail behind Romney in the polls by about ten points. The former speaker of the House and sometimes lobbyist pitched himself as an anti-Washington candidate and promised to run a positive campaign at a town hall in Windham. At a friendly Lincoln-Douglas debate with former ambassador and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman on Monday night, Gingrich showed off his foreign policy chops.

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The Washington Report

Eurozone Agreement, India's Economy, Newt Gingrich's Chances

Monday, December 12, 2011

In this week's Washington Report, David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, speaks to Kerry Nolan about the Eurozone, India's economy, and Newt Gingrich.

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It's A Free Country ®

Romney Tries to Reassure New Hampshire Voters

Monday, December 12, 2011

After taking a week off to campaign and fundraise elsewhere, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney returned on Sunday to New Hampshire, the only early state where he still holds his lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Iowa Debate Report Card - Newt Wins by Not Losing

Sunday, December 11, 2011

GOP Drake University Debate Results – Steffen Schmidt Saturday night's GOP debate in Des Moines, Iowa consolidated Newt Gingrich’s front-runner status. Although targeted by all the contenders and directly attacked by Rick Perry, who lectured the audience that "if you cheat on your wife, you will cheat on your business ...

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It's A Free Country ®

Newt on Nation Building, In His Own Words

Friday, December 09, 2011

It’s A Free Country got a hold of a rare copy of Gingrich’s history dissertation – on the Belgian Congo. The work contains the seeds of the philosophy that has defined his political career – that a single leader with a big idea can shape the course of civilization. 

 

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The Takeaway

Capitol Hill: GOP Blocks Cordray From CFPB; Gingrich's Popularity in Congress

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich looks at two major stories playing out inside the halls of Congress this week. The White House is attempting to push recalcitrant Senate Republicans to confirm former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Forty-five Senate Republicans signed a letter in May vowing to block any nominee unless Congress was given more oversight of the bureau. Zwillich also spent time on Capitol hill talking to lawmakers about GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich. 

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It's A Free Country ®

Trump Blows More Smoke About Presidential Bid, But is There a Fire?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A series of e-mails from the tax-exempt 527 group "Should Trump Run?" is attempting to stoke new speculation about—and donations to—another campaign for The Donald.

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