By Gary Weckselblatt
Taking credit for "having initiated four consecutive balanced budgets" and "helping develop supply-side economics for the Reagan campaign," Newt Gingrich came to Doylestown on Tuesday where he promised a "much bolder and much more complicated" Contract with America is just days away.
Less than a year from Republicans choosing a candidate to take on President Barack Obama, the GOP presidential hopeful spoke for about 20 minutes and answered questions for about an hour from about 200 supporters at The Moose Lodge, where people had to be turned away for space limitations.
"Wow, what a turnout. I am just blown away," said Gingrich, the former House Speaker, who helped Republicans win the majority in 1994 after 40 years of Democratic control.
Gingrich unveiled three ideas that would be included in a new "contract." They included reducing the power of the judiciary, enforcing the 10th Amendment "to return power back home" to the states, and building a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border by Jan. 1, 2014.
"We won the entire second World War in 44 months, and now in 25 years we can't control the border when the entire Texas side of the border is a river."
His strongest words were against "an increasingly arrogant judiciary," and said the Federalist Papers (essays published in 1788 promoting the ratification of the U.S. Constitution) viewed the judiciary as the "weakest of the three branches." President Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison passed a bill to eliminate 18 of the 35 federal judges, Gingrich said. "They have to know something about the Constitution."
He said his new contract would "re-establish" the three branches of government. "The time has come to look judges in the eye and say "If you are determined to destroy American civilization, we are going to abolish your court.'"
Gingrich also said:
While both Reagan and Obama took over bad economies, "real leaders don't run around explaining while they're failing. Real leaders figure out how to succeed."
Ben Bernanke is the "worst chairman of the Federal Reserve in history" and as president he would "move legislation the first week to fire him." By keeping interest rates "artificially low" Bernanke has "cheated everyone who has saved and was counting on that income in retirement."
His first executive order would abolish "every single White House czar." It was his largest applause line.
Of the Democrats' health care plan he called Obamacare, he would, "Repeal all of it on day one and replace it on day two."
"Any time somebody says to you we need tax reform to help us with the deficit, they just told you they're for a tax increase. ... I am unalterably opposed to any tax increase."
"Privatize the student loan program. The federal government has no business running (it)."
Gingrich was in Doylestown on Tuesday at the invitation of The Kitchen Table Patriots, a tea party organization. Later Tuesday he attended a meeting in Philadelphia hosted by the Independence Hall Tea Party. Neither group has endorsed him, though he did receive an endorsement earlier this week from Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips.
Al Farr of New Britain Township called Gingrich "the most qualified candidate" in the Republican field. He said he's been following Gingrich since his days as Speaker. "I believe he can win," Farr said.
Elizabeth Salvatico of Doylestown said Gingrich "is the most specific of all the candidates about what he would do to restore America." But she said it was unlikely she would vote for him.
Poll numbers have shown former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry leading the GOP field with Gingrich well behind with several other candidates.
Gingrich called next year's campaign against Obama, "the most important election since 1860" when Abraham Lincoln was elected.
"If I'm the Republican nominee, I will challenge the president to a series of seven Lincoln-Douglas debates," he said. There would be a timekeeper but no moderator.
When someone suggested the president wouldn't agree to it without a teleprompter, Gingrich replied. "You're not being fair to the president. Would you want to have 90 minutes to defend Obamacare without a teleprompter?"