By Tim Rohwer
Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich came to Council Bluffs one last time before Tuesday's Iowa caucuses and spoke of his past accomplishments and future goals, instead of taking shots at other candidates.
There are simply too many negative ads out there for what the American people need to know, he said.
"We're in so much trouble," Gingrich told a standing-room-only crowd at Tish's Restaurant. "We need a positive solution campaign. All these negative ads are politics as usual. I will run a campaign with wide choices."
That's not to say one can't be critical toward President Barack Obama, he added.
"There is a difference in telling the truth and going negative. He is the best food stamp president in history and that's a fact. I would like to be the best paycheck president in history."
Gingrich chided Obama's economic policies that call for more taxes and more business regulations that hurt people who create jobs.
"You have to cut taxes and favor people who create jobs."
He also said the president's national health care plan is a threat to small businesses and labeled Obama as the least friendly toward Israel of any president. If chosen as the GOP nominee, Gingrich would challenge Obama to seven "Lincoln-Douglas" style debates, he said.
Mostly though, Gingrich talked of his accomplishments as a longtime U.S. Congressman and his plans as president. During his four years as House speaker in the 1990s, the House enacted welfare reform, passed a capital gains tax cut and passed the first balanced budget in nearly 30 years.
As president, he would seek the reduction of corporate income taxes from 35 percent to 12 percent to encourage more investment and more jobs, Gingrich said. Those on unemployment benefits would need to use some of those benefits for training programs, instead of just living on taxpayer dollars, he added.
Gingrich would seek to transform the United States Environmental Protection Agency and all of its "out of touch with reality" regulations into an environmental solutions agency, he said. He supports increased development of all forms of energy in this country, be it oil, coal, nuclear, wind, solar or biofuels.
"We need to move to flex-fuel vehicles," he added.
Gingrich would also shrink the responsibilities of the Department of Education and give more authority to the states.
He supports a stronger military, saying the current size of the U.S. Navy is the smallest in the last 100 years.
When asked about religion from an audience member, Gingrich said, "I believe deeply in God. I pray to him before every speech and decision."
Gingrich picked up a big endorsement Saturday as Jeff Jorgensen, chairman of the Pottawattamie County Republicans, threw his hat into the former Congressman's campaign. Gingrich is his personal choice, Jorgensen said, and should not be taken as the choice of the county party.
"We'll support whoever is the nominee," Jorgensen said. "This happens to be my choice."
Jorgensen said his top priority is someone to stop the out-of-control federal spending and Gingrich has the background to do that.
"We need someone with experience. We need someone who understands the process," he said.