Saturday, December 16, 2006

2008: Gingrich Update

Fading GOP star Newt Gingrich tried to jumpstart his '08 hopes with another trip to New Hampshire yesterday, continuing his tough talk on free speech and terrorism. Newt was at the Manchester Republican City Committee's Christmas dinner as the guest speaker, and didn't disappoint the partisan crowd.

"Our friends at the 'ACLU left,' of course, were staggered at this concept," Gingrich told an audience of Republicans at a Christmas banquet. "How could we talk about anything less than 100 percent free speech? How could we consider in any way thinking about this issue?"

Gingrich cited last month's ejection of six Muslim scholars from a plane in Minneapolis for suspicious behavior, which included reports they prayed before the flight and had sat in the same seats as the Sept. 11 hijackers.

"Those six people should have been arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be terrorists," Gingrich said. "And the crew of the U.S. airplane should have been invited to the White House and congratulated for being correct in the protection of citizens."

He also gave his thoughts (updated thoughts, apparently. No talk of a "failure" in Iraq) on the war in Iraq, arguing against any discussion of withdrawal from Iraq.

When speaking about Iraq, people should understand that “Iraq is a campaign in the real world,” Gingrich said. “If this larger war didn’t exist, I would say we should leave Iraq this weekend.“When I look at Iraq, I see Iran. I see Afghanistan. I see Hamas. I see Hezbollah. What’s the totality of the war we’re dealing with? The answer is not to abandon Iraq.”

While going hard right on terror and the war, Newt also spoke of bipartisanship and "scientific possibilities" in the rest of his speech, sounding like a politician teetering on the precipice of starting his campaign. While he has been absent from any public platforms for awhile before his two recent NH trips, his Granite State visits have raised his primary profile. With McCain causing Republican disillusionment, Gingrich may see an opening to become the new anti-Rudy candidate. Will he move up his September '07 timetable for announcing?



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