NEWT GINGRICH: HE'S IN IT TO WIN IT - RENO CAMPAIGN STOPS DRAW CROWD TOO BIG TO HANDLE
7:21 PM, Feb. 1, 2012
Although former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., acknowledged former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s victory in the 2008 Nevada Republican caucus during a Reno campaign stop Wednesday, he said he was in Saturday’s 2012 presidential caucus to win it.
Gingrich was coming off a 14-point loss to Romney in the Florida primary on Tuesday, after earlier defeating Romney in the South Carolina primary.
“I would not be satisfied (with second place in Nevada),” Gingrich told reporters after a speech at the Great Basin Brewery Company in Reno. “But I think this is a state where Romney, the last time, had a huge vote. He has a big advantage, but nonetheless, I would much rather come in first. I have never been satisfied with less than first.”
About 300 people packed the southwest Reno pub to hear Gingrich speak. Another 300 or so stood outside and listened to Gingrich’s speech on loudspeakers.
“... We are here to campaign,” Gingrich said, buoyed by the enthusiastic turnout. “We are competing across the whole state. We want to compete in every single caucus meeting that occurs. And I thought frankly, this was a pretty good starting point. We had a terrific crowd. We had hundreds of people outside who could not get inside.
“This is a pretty good sign that we have a pretty good base here,” Gingrich said. “We are looking forward to more gatherings like this.”
Gingrich flew to Las Vegas after his Reno event, noting he had meetings there Wednesday night. Gingrich is expected to get an early start in Las Vegas today with an 8:30 a.m. walk-through and rally at Xtreme Manufacturing, a maker of forklifts.
Gingrich is then expected to meet with Hispanic leaders and voters at Mundo Restaurant in the World Market Center at 10:30 a.m. Gingrich is then expected to attend a fundraiser at the World Market Center, a spokesman said.
During his speech in Reno, Gingrich criticized Romney for an earlier remark to CNN when Romney said, “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich. They’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
Gingrich pounced on Romney’s remark, saying the Founding Fathers wanted opportunity for the poor.
“Let me shock Gov. Romney,” Gingrich said. “The founding fathers meant the very poor, who they called, ‘Americans.’”
Gingrich often referred to the “Americans” theme Wednesday.
“I am fed up with politicians in either party dividing Americans against each other,” Gingrich said. “I am running to be the president of all the American people, and I am concerned about all the American people.”
Gingrich was also critical of Democratic President Barack Obama during the Reno speech.
“I have a very simple proposition for the American people,” Gingrich said. “Think how much better your Christmas will be when Obama is leaving, and you have a new jobs-oriented president.”
Gingrich also said he would approve the Keystone Pipeline as soon as he was in office. He promised to eliminate the capital gains tax and streamline the tax system so citizens could choose to either be taxed by the current system or pay a 15 percent flat tax.
He said he would end Obama’s health care initiatives and also was critical of those who have been on federal subsistence for close to two years.
“We will never again pay someone for 99 weeks for doing nothing,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich’s speech was enough for one attendee to change his preference for president.
“The one thing that is going to sway me from voting for Mitt Romney is when he (Gingrich) said that he needed people to win this election and keep it going,” said Nick Smith, 26. “The people have to vote for themselves, and that is what Newt was talking about today when he said it was for the people. It is not about money; it is not about ads.”
Also in Reno, Gingrich gave his side of the story about the canceled meeting with Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican.
A meeting between the two was set up for Wednesday but never occurred, Sandoval’s office said.
“The speaker’s campaign requested the meeting,” Sandoval’s press secretary, Mary-Sarah Kinner, said on Tuesday. “None of the other candidates have requested a meeting at this time but have been offered the same opportunity to meet with the governor.”
After it is all set up, the Gingrich campaign canceled, prompting Kinner to sent out another release Tuesday:
“Speaker Gingrich’s campaign called within the last five minutes and canceled tomorrow’s meeting. Please contact the Gingrich campaign for details.”
Gingrich put it this way on Wednesday:
“We were trying to find a time that work for both of us, and the time they offered us, unfortunately, was the time when we had this event,” Gingrich said. “I am not going to turn down hundreds of people to find the time to go to Carson City. We are trying to find some time that might fit into the governor’s schedule. I’d love to see him and chat with him.”