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Newt Gingrich on Principles & Values

Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House


Is Obama a socialist? "Sure, of course he is"

Q: [to Romney]: Rep. Bachmann has said that President Obama has "ushered in socialism" during his first term. Gov. Perry says that this administration is "hell bent" toward taking America toward a socialist country" When Speaker Gingrich was asked if he believes Pres. Obama is a socialist, he responded, quote, "Sure, of course he is."

ROMNEY: Pres. Obama takes his political inspiration from the socialist democrats in Europe. Guess what? Europe isn't working in Europe. It's not going to work here.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Tea Party prevents mistake of electing conservative Dems

Q: What role do you think the Tea Party will play in the 2012 elections?

A: Tea Party will help prevent Republicans from making same mistakes of 2004 and 2006 & help elect conservative democrats. The most important role for the Tea Party is not in elections, but in developing local solutions as we move power out of Washington. Permanently ending age of big government will be hard work and require a team effort between federal, state & local government.

Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com , Jul 21, 2011

If you're not loyal to U.S., you can't serve in my Cabinet

Q: Should Muslims be singled out and treated differently in your appointments?

ROMNEY: Obviously, anybody who would come into my administration would honor their oath to defend and protect the Constitution.

GINGRICH: The Pakistani who emigrated to th US became a citizen, built a car bomb which luckily failed to go off in Times Square, was asked by the federal judge, how could he have done that when he swore an oath to the United States? And he looked at the judge and said, "You're my enemy. I lied." Now, I just want to go out on a limb here. I'm in favor of saying to people, if you're not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period. We did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the Communists. And it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered after a while, you know, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country. And we have got to have the guts to stand up and say no.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Start speaking out in favor of American Exceptionalism

    Ten Steps to Restoring American Exceptionalism: Instead of waiting for government to reform itself, we should immediately start living our lives every day in ways that promote freedom, personal responsibility, and self-government. Here are ten thing you can do to help America's future be as exceptional as its past.
  1. Learn about American history, exceptional Americans, and America's founding principles.
  2. Speak out. Once you feel confident in your knowledge, start speaking out in favor of American Exceptionalism.
  3. Question governmental authority at every turn.
  4. Teach the children around you.
  5. Insist on schools that teach responsibility and the fundamentals of American citizenship.
  6. Defeat and replace bad judges.
  7. Reestablish the work ethic.
  8. Celebrate American holidays: Memorial Day; Veterans Day; the Fourth of July; Thanksgiving.
  9. Volunteer in your community.
  10. Run for office. Your country needs you.
Source: A Nation Like No Other, by Newt Gingrich, p.190-196 , Jun 13, 2011

American Exceptionalism is central to our nation's survival

"A Nation Like No Other" is dedicated to the proposition that American Exceptionalism is so central to our nation's survival that every generation must learn why being an American is a unique and precious experience. "A Nation Like No Other" reflects my belief that American Exceptionalism is so censored that too many Americans no longer understand why their country is both exceptional and an exception to the form and practice of government in all other countries. The facts are all on our side. America is simply the most extraordinary nation in the history. This is not a statement of nationalist hubris. It is an historic fact. America is exceptional indeed, yet our cultural heritage, our unique habits of liberty that have made us such a successful society, are now being threatened by a combination of centralized bureaucracies, leftwing ideologies, destructive litigation, and an elite view that American Exceptionalism is no longer acceptable or even permissible.
Source: A Nation Like No Other, by Newt Gingrich, p. 13 , Jun 13, 2011

Declaration assumes God created man

One of the Declaration's most famous passages proclaims, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...." This assertion makes some key assumptions about the relationship between man and God: It assumes that God created man. It assumes that God is sovereign over the universe. It assumes that man must obey an order of justice that God has instituted. That order of justice requires all men and women to honor each other's natural rights, because these rights are an unalienable endowment from the Almighty. When someone violates another's rights, he is not merely breaking the law, he is violating God's grant of protection. This points to two additional assumptions underlying the Declaration: first, that if our rights are given by a divine Creator, then there is a divine plan for humanity; and second, that since all men are equal before God, they should be legally and politically equal as well.
Source: A Nation Like No Other, by Newt Gingrich, p. 21 , Jun 13, 2011

Five habits of liberty sustain American Exceptionalism

Looking through 400 years of American history, we find five habits of liberty that have been crucial to sustaining American Exceptionalism. They are: faith and family, work, civil society, rule of law, and safety and peace. Tempering man's worst impulses, these distinctly American habits are vital to cultivating an engaged, informed citizenry, which is needed to sustain a free republic and secure the unalienable rights asserted in the Declaration of Independence. The emphasis on these habits set America apart from its European counterparts, where monarchs were intent on cultivating passive, obedient subjects unlikely to change their ruler's claim to power.
Source: A Nation Like No Other, by Newt Gingrich, p. 42 , Jun 13, 2011

America is now facing a mortal threat

This is a book I never expected to write. After the victory of freedom over Communist tyranny, of religious liberty over secular police states, and of American pride over the malaise and cynicism of the 1970s, I fully expected America to follow an upward curve of consistent improvement. I did not expect the Left to ignore the lessons of history and move further into ideological extremism.

After leaving Congress in 1999 with a balanced budget and a booming economy, I certainly did not foresee Republican failure so vast that it allowed left-wing radicals to take over the House, Senate, and Presidency.

America as we know it is now facing a mortal threat.

This danger to America is greater than anything I dreamed possible after we won the Cold War and the Soviet Union in December 1991. We stand at a crossroads: either we will save our country or we will lose it.

Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 1-2 , May 17, 2010

Saul Alinsky is clear: Left needs to be dishonest

Perhaps nobody has been more clear about the Left's need for dishonesty than Saul Alinsky, considered the godfather of community organizing. His two most famous works, "Reveille for Radicals" and "Rules for Radicals" were published in the late 60s and early 70s. In these works, Alinsky draws a distinction between meek, garden-variety liberals and brave, revolutionary radicals. "While liberals are most adept at breaking their own necks with their tongues," Alinsky wrote, "radicals are most adept at breaking the necks of conservatives."

Many of his "rules" are guidelines for engaging in immoral, dangerous, political dishonesty, including the following:

Source: To Save America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 46-47 , May 17, 2010

Red-blue split in America is 85% Americans and 15% fringe

Americans believe overwhelmingly that we need a change in course. Americans are surprisingly united in this belief, and in the conviction that real change will never come from Washington. On this, like so many things, Americans are absolutely right.

The media tell us America is a nation divided between conservative red states and liberal blue states. They tell us that red and blue are equally divided--which is why elections are so close, why Congress seems gridlocked, and why nothing ever seems to get done in Washington.

But that's simply not true. The reality is the American people are united on almost every important issue facing our country. The real division is between red-white-blue America (about 85% of the country) and a fringe on the left (about 15% of the country). Not only have the media perpetuated the myth that the country is equally divided, but the elites on the left fringe have also insisted that their positions hold moral superiority. Neither is true.

Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 3 , Dec 18, 2007

Red-vs.-Blue fails: propose Red-White-and-Blue solutions

In retrospect, it seems clear that the two greatest habits that get the GOP in a lot of trouble [are] emphasizing the partisan divide, and emphasizing the negative. Together they can be summed up as the red-versus-blue fixation. This flawed political focus has had a devastating effect on the party.

The American People Want Red-White-and-Blue Solutions: Red-versus-blue can work for one or two election cycles, but eventually it set up three destructive dynamics.

  1. It continually narrows the playing field. Candidates give up on persuading anyone on the other side to join their cause and focus instead on narrow, partisan appeals
  2. The requirement to maximize turnout with partisan appeals leads to a shrillness that eventually drives away independents & moderates
  3. The most effective turnout mechanism is to scare or anger your side into voting, which in the long run leads to a numbness that convinces all but the hardest partisans that your messages are phony and misleading.
Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 19-20 , Dec 18, 2007

Creator as source of liberty is literally written in stone

The first rays of sun on our Nation’s Capital each morning illuminate [the Washington Monument]. And there on the top is inscribed Laus Deo (“Praise be to God”). These simple words, for the eyes of heaven alone, are a fitting reflection of George Washington’s conviction that liberty is owed to divine blessing.

[One can see in any tour of Washington DC] that our Creator is the source of American liberty--it is literally written into the rock, mortar, and marble of American history.

Source: Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, p.130-131 , Dec 31, 2006

Media-academic-legal elite imposes radical secularist vision

A media-academic-legal elite is energetically determined to impose a radically secularist vision against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans. This outlook rejects the wisdom if the founding generation as outdated and treats the notion that our liberties come from God as a curious artifact from the 1770s but of little practical importance for more enlightened times.

This elite is especially hard at work in the courts and in the classrooms where it is attempting to overturn two centuries of American self-understanding of religious freedom and political liberty.

In the courts, we see a systematic effort by this elite to purge all religious expression from American public life. The ongoing attempt to remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance is only the most well-known of these mounting efforts.

Source: Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, p.131-132 , Dec 31, 2006

Constitution says freedom OF religion, not FROM religion

The first ten amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. Amendment I begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The language clearly prohibits the establishment of an official national religion, while at the same time protecting the observance of religion in both private and public spaces. In fact, two of the principal authors of the First Amendment, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who were also our third and fourth presidents, respectively, both attended church services in the Capitol building, the most public of American spaces. During Jefferson’s presidency, church services were also held in the Treasury building and the Supreme Court. Therefore, these Founding Fathers clearly saw no conflict in opposing the establishment of an official religion while protecting the freedom of religious expression in the public square.

Source: Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 31-32 , Dec 31, 2006

Supreme Court hostile to religion, but building based on it

While recent years have seen increasing hostility from the courts to public displays of religion, the Supreme Court is filled with them. Notice that all sessions begin with the Court’s marshal announcing: “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

Throughout history, decisions of the Supreme Court have recognized that we are a religious nation. For example, in the 1952 case Zorach vs. Clauson, the court upheld a statute that allowed students to be released from school to attend religious classes.

The most striking religious imagery at the Supreme Court building is that of Moses with the Ten Commandments. Affirming the Judeo-Christian roots of our legal system, they can be found in several places: at the center of the sculpture over the east portico of the building, inside the actual courtroom, and finally, engraved over the chair of the Chief Justice, and on the bronze doors of the Supreme Court itself. There is also a sculpted marble depiction of Mohammad on the wall.

Source: Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, p. 85-89 , Dec 31, 2006

Reform traditional instruments of gov’t for 21st century

We must implement policies that will ensure America’s leadership, safety, and prosperity. And we must reinvigorate the core values that have made an exceptional civilization. We do not believe the traditional instruments of government will reform themselves fast enough and thoroughly enough for the twenty-first century.

Only a grassroots citizens’ movement can insist on the level of change that is needed for our children and grandchildren to have a successful future. Such a citizens’ movement would have to be focused on goals rather than on interest groups. The goals define the America we want our children and grandchildren to have. To achieve this future we will:

  1. Defend America and our allies from those who would destroy us.
  2. Transform the Social Security system into personal savings accounts.
  3. Recenter on the Creator from Whom all our liberties come.
  4. Establish patriotic education for our children and patriotic immigration for new Americans.
Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

Focus on 5 major challenges for the 21st century

We believe our children & grandchildren deserve the opportunities our parents & grandparents gave us. [We must address 5 major challenges]:
  1. Securing America & its Allies by Defeating America’s Enemies, especially the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam & the rogue dictatorships that empower them.
  2. Defending God in the Public SquareThere is no attack on American culture more deadly & more historically dishonest than the unending war against God in America’s public life.
  3. Protecting American CivilizationWe should not worry about people who want to come to the US to work hard & become Americans. What should worry us is ensuring that new immigrants learn to be American.
  4. Winning in a Global EconomyThe challenge of economi competition from China & India will require transformations in litigation, education, taxation, environmental & health policies.
  5. Promoting Active Healthy Aging[We need to reform the] Medicare & Social Security systems for the 21st Century.
Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

Politics is war without blood

Newt Gingrich arrived in 1979, a Pennsylvanian transplanted to Georgia, a college professor and political activist. Gingrich was obsessed with books about military tactics. He had become something of a reverse Clausewitz: He considered politics the extension of war by other means. "War without blood," he called it.
Source: The Natural, by Joe Klein, p.103 , Feb 11, 2003

Polls are biased left; GOP wins on the issues

There is another great source of liberal power, not quite the same thing as the press but working hand in hand with it--and that is news media public opinion polls. Polls can be manipulated: through the pools selected for polling and through the wording of the questions. First of all, if you ask all adults rather than likely voters, your results will be skewed by the responses of people who are not interested in politics and will therefore be more likely simply to parrot what they have picked up from television. The more likely you are to vote, the more likely you are to pay attention to the arguments. As we’ve lately been discovering, the more you pay attention to the arguments, the more likely you are to vote for us.

Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p. 73-75 , Jul 2, 1998

GOP represents people, but Dems communicate better

Sometimes I think we conservative politicians forget how much the people “out there” are with us. The age of liberalism is over, and millions of Americans are calling on us to figure out how to replace it. We do in fact know how to do that, though people go on needing to be convinced that there will be no unmanageable hardships for them concealed in our plans.

They need to believe that we understand how people feel. This is sometimes an uncomfortable thing for Republicans to make convincing. Often we tend to talk as if we are a group of managers analyzing some problem in a boardroom. Democrats, on the other hand, whatever their other shortcomings, have a passion for both power and people and instinctively know how to focus in on both. You might say that they on the whole come on like a party of lawyers making an appeal to a blue-collar jury, while Republicans come on like a party of managers making an appeal to a board of directors. Guess who is more successful at mass communication?

Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p. 40 , Jul 2, 1998

Baby Boomers becoming Republicans while Dems become outdated

Republicans are riding a wave of generational change. Baby boomers and their children are growing more conservative & critical of government failure to deliver services to a standard comparable to those of the private sector. On their side, the Democrats are being dragged downhill by a combination of their industrial-age institutions, such as the labor unions, government bureaucrats, & trial lawyers, and their ideological base groups, such as radical feminists, homosexual activists, & race politicians. These all keep the Democratic Party committed to policies & institutions that often violate the public’s sense of decency & that cannot meet their demands for a dollar’s worth of government services for a dollar of taxes.

Most of these trends are barel noted in the media while they are happening, with the result that the view of the world that dominates in Washington and New York and Cambridge Mass, is almost 180 degrees different from the view of the world of everyday practical political leaders.

Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p. 78-79 , Jul 2, 1998

Liberals exploit weakness; conservatives offer strength

We must expect liberals to continue to fight us, and where they do so honestly, to respect them for it while continuing to work for our success. If the conservative movement had survived LBJ & Watergate by assuring itself that values were more important than popularity, we can expect the liberals to do no less. After all, they have something tempting to promise people that we do not, namely, the quick fix & the easy buck. Americans are especially tired of the oppressive politically correct culture that has grown up around them. But it is well to remember that temptation is something ever lurking, waiting to exploit human weakness, especially in difficult times. What we have to offer people instead is strength and adventure, the experience of a new level of life-enhancing energy and love of a great country. We have no reason to become distressed--as many members of the House did and as I at some point also did. What we are embarked on is what they call steady work, more than enough for a lifetime.
Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p. 82-83 , Jul 2, 1998

Culture of irresponsibility began in 1965

We must reassert and renew American civilization. From the arrival of English-speaking colonists in 1607 until 1965, there was one continuous civilization built around a set of commonly accepted legal and cultural principles. From the Jamestown colony and the Pilgrims, through de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, up to Norman Rockwell’s paintings of the 1940s and 1950s, there was a clear sense of what it meant to be an American. Our civilization is based on a spiritual and moral dimension. It emphasizes personal responsibility as much as individual rights. Since 1965, however, there has been a calculated effort by cultural elites to discredit this civilization and replace it with a culture of irresponsibility that is incompatible with American freedoms as we have known them. Our first task is to return to teaching Americans about America and teaching immigrants how to become Americans. Until we re-establish a legitimate moral-cultural standard, our civilization is at risk.
Source: To Renew America, p. 7 , Jul 2, 1995

Our civilization is a shared opportunity to pursue happiness

    We have gone from being a strong, self-reliant, vigorous society to a pessimistic one that celebrates soreheads and losers jealous of others’ successes. I came out of my two years of reviewing American history convinced that our first need is to rediscover the values we have lost. In my reading, I found five basic principles that I believe form the heart of our civilization:
  1. The common understanding we share about who we are and how we came to be
  2. The ethic of individual responsibility
  3. The spirit of entrepreneurial free enterprise
  4. The spirit of invention and discovery
  5. Pragmatism and the concern for craft and excellence.
We stand on the shoulders of Western European civilization, but we are far more futuristic, more populist, and more inclusive. American civilization is not merely a subset of Western Europe’s. We have drawn people and cultures from across the planet and integrated them into an extraordinary shared opportunity to pursue happiness.
Source: To Renew America, p. 33-34 , Jul 2, 1995

Search for progress in successful lessons of the past

Gingrich has an underlying philosophy that drives him to search for progress in the successful lessons of the past. He reinforces this philosophy with the discipline required of an academic. To him, words have meaning and education is forever. The historian in him demands voluminous reading. He preaches with enthusiasm about the need to consult biography if one is to learn how to do something. I was surprised to hear Gingrich entreat me to read Gore Vidal's Lincoln, a book congressman believes is indispensable in describing perseverance in defeat and successful management of recalcitrant underlings. Few, indeed, are the conversations with him in which a book or two isn't recommended.
Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 10 , Jun 1, 1995

Many newspaper editorial boards contain socialists

The Speaker roiled the waters when he told a group of business leaders that many newspaper editorial boards contain socialists. But isn't it possible--even likely--that the Washington Post's editorial board includes a person who endorses a guaranteed annual income, or share-the-wealth schemes, or nationalizing some industries?

To call someone socialist is not necessarily to questions that person's patriotism. In the press reaction to the socialist tag was the suggestion that somehow Gingrich was reviving McCarthyism. It is a case of the offended protesting too much. Socialism has a lengthy American tradition, even if it is now on the wane. After all, President Clinton's Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, proudly called himself a democratic socialist in the days after his Rhodes scholarship. As Gingrich said, "I'd be glad to get you a collection of editorials that only make senses if people believe that government's good and the free market is bad."

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.158-159 , Jun 1, 1995

If you're afraid or broke or uneducated, you're not free

This morning's closing hymn at the prayer service was the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The key phrase is, "As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free." It's not just political freedom.

If you can't afford to leave the public housing project, you're not free. If you don't know how to finds a job and don't know how to create a job, you're not free. If you can't find a place that will educate you, you're not free. If you're afraid to walk to the store because you could get killed, you're not free.

And so as all of us in the coming months sing that song, "As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free," I want us to dedicate ourselves to reach out in a genuinely nonpartisan way.

Source: Inaugural Speaker speech, in Newt!, by D.Williams, p. 226-7 , Jan 4, 1995


Newt Gingrich on Past Elections

1998: Resigned after election loss of House seats

Where was conservatism headed before George W. Bush? Bill Clinton had won two presidential elections, even as the GOP won control of Congress in 1994, when the American people seemingly rejected his left-leaning policies. If that was the entire story, it would be easier to argue that conservatism was doing just fine before Bush came along. The story, however, has a few more turns to it. It's true Clinton signed welfare reform to win a second term. But politics in Washington also grew acrimonious during his last few years in office--capped by his impeachment--and the tone of the fighting was turning many voters against Republicans. The loss of House seats is one reason why Newt Gingrich stepped aside after the 1998 midterm elections. By 2000, Republicans were slowly being edged off the stage as the party lost support in suburban areas and ran out of big ideas its congressional majorities could push into law.
Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.248 , Nov 2, 2010

1994 goal of durable conservative majority lasted until 2008

A GOP commentator said in 2007, "In the last 10 years we've seen the Washington politicians abandon the conservative cause--the Reagan revolution, the Gingrich revolution of '94. Putting everything together, conservatives are very discouraged."

Newt Gingrich's 1994 "Contract with America" campaign led the party to one of its greatest triumphs in modern political history--and sparked another, younger generation of conservatives to action. In Bill Clinton's first midterm election, Republicans rode their anti-government rhetoric to victory. They captured both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. Six years later, George W. Bush added the presidency, and for a time Republicans controlled all the levers of power in Washington and held a majority of the governorships, stirring dreams of a durable conservative majority long into the future. Bush's descent brought an end to those aspirations. Republicans were adrift and pessimistic about the future of their party.

Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p.229 , Aug 4, 2009

After 2000, Republicans failed to govern successfully

After the 2000 election it became obvious that something was profoundly wrong with Republican political strategies. From 2004, I realized (after 5 years of painful reevaluation) why. There had been three significant opportunities for conservative parties to adapt by heeding the lessons of history. Yet in each case, the party failed to learn.
  1. In Great Britain, Thatcher failed to change the culture of the Conservative Party, which reverted to an unthinking, non-reform style as soon as she left office.
  2. Reagan failed to change the culture of presidential Republicans; the first Bush administration got rid of virtually all the Reaganites as soon as it could, and within two years was cutting deals with the Democrats to raise taxes.
  3. Those of u who believed in a reform-oriented, majority Republican Party could not change the minority mindset of the House Republicans. The minority thinkers had no idea what it had taken to win the majority in 1994, and they had no interest in learning.
Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 13-15 , Dec 18, 2007

1979: wrote Art of Transformation; 1990s: implemented it

I outlined in great detail how to use [my] approach in two books, "The Art of Transformation" and "Implementing the Art of Transformation." It evolved from 1993 to 1995 when I worked with more than 375 candidates to develop the Contract with America and help to run the House of Representatives with a new majority. Try this thought experiment. Take any area of interest and go through the key planning steps:
  1. What do you value?
  2. What vision of success do you have for achieving what you value?
  3. What metrics would tell you whether you are making progress toward your visions?
  4. What strategies would enable you to achieve your vision?
  5. What projects would enable you to implement your strategies successfully? (A project is a definable, delegatable achievement and the key to entrepreneurial management.)
  6. What tasks have to be done well to complete each project?
When you understand how to work through these six questions, you will be ready to lead.
Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 81-82 , Dec 18, 2007

1998: Proceeded with unpopular impeachment "because we can"

On the first day after the 1998 election I called Newt Gingrich to talk about some business; when the conversation got around to the election, he was very generous, saying that as a historian and "the quarterback for the other team," he wanted to congratulate me.

Later in November, Erskine Bowles had a very different conversation: Newt told Erskine that they were going to go forward with the impeachment despite the election results and the fact that many moderate Republicans didn't want to vote for it. When Erskine asked Newt why they would proceed with impeachment instead of other possible remedies such as censure or reprimand, the Speaker replied, "Because we can."

The right-wing Republicans who controlled the House believed that they had now paid for impeachment so they should just go on and do it before the new Congress came in. The right-wingers in the House caucus were seething over their defeat. Now they were going to seize back control of the Republican agenda through impeachment.

Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.824-825 , Jun 21, 2004

1972: State chair for CREEP, committee to re-elect Nixon

His first political notice came with his support in 1968 of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller over the more plebian Nixon. Gingrich then was in graduate school and maneuvered to make himself Louisiana chairman for Rockefeller. The NY governor's views on race relations and the environment played a large part in Gingrich's choice.

But the pragmatic graduate student, in 1972, went from opposition to Nixon to being state chairman for the CREEP, the committee to reelect Nixon.

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 24 , Jun 1, 1995

1960: first political activism: student volunteer for Nixon

In high school, Gingrich fit that modern play on words, radical geek. A classmate remembers him as being the smartest around, but popular and fun. Gingrich's high school days were notable for three things: politics, the closest friendship of his life, and a very well kept secret.

His political activism began in March, 1960, his junior year at Baker High, when he volunteered in the presidential campaign of Richard Nixon. Gingrich and his classmate and closest friend, Jim Tilton, dreamed of creating a Republican majority. The classmate remembers that Newt's goal was to be the first Republican governor in Georgia since Reconstruction and then to use that prominence to vault him into presidential politics.

He volunteered for the Nixon campaign and had his first taste of political defeat. Newt was shaken after Nixon's loss. He took it hard.

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 74-75 , Jun 1, 1995

Cooperate on Contract, but no compromise

After the Contract with America election, Gingrich said], "I want to draw a distinction between two worlds, because we're going to get into a lot of confusion at the vision level about these two words. I am very prepared to cooperate with the Clinton administration. I am not prepared to compromise. The two words are very different.

"At the end of the opening day, we will introduce the 10 bills we described in the Contract. We will read the Contract as the opening item of business every day for the first 100 days, and at the end, the American people will be able to say they saw a group of people who actually said what they were going to do and kept their word.

"We have an enormous amount of work to do. All I can promise you in the side of the House of Republicans is that we're going to be open to working with everyone, that we will cooperate with anyone, and we will compromise with no one, and that 's the base of where we're going and that what we believe this election is all about."

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.118-121 , Jun 1, 1995

Four House Ethics complaints against "Newt Inc." GOPAC

Gingrich has raised $35 million through GOPAC. "Newt Inc." is what more than one publication has called his organizations. The ethics complaints are four:
  1. Gingrich's college course constituted a political activity disguised as an academic endeavor and was improperly financed
  2. He abused his office by allowing an auction for a book won by a publisher with business before Congress
  3. He accepted free time on cable TV for his lectures
  4. He plugged the toll-free phone number through which to order his Renewing American Civilization lecture tapes while he was speaking on the House floor.
Even people close to the Democrats' well-planned assault on Gingrich know that thereof the four complaints before the Ethics Committee have little merit. Gingrich looked a bit crass in plugging his lecture tapes on the House floor, but they are distributed by a nonprofit educational foundation. Gingrich receives no money from the course. Writing books was exempted from House limits on outside income.
Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.188-190 , Jun 1, 1995

Authored Conservative Opportunity Society manifesto

Some trace the idea for the Conservative Opportunity Society to a meeting Gingrich had in 1982 with former President Nixon about the need for a more idea-oriented party.

"Marianne and I went to see Dick Nixon late in 1982," Gingrich told me. "He said, 'You can't change the House yourself. You have to go back and form a group.' You could say that the idea for the COS came from Nixon. He was responsible for a great deal of political change in this country."

The idea had been germinating well before Nixon offered his advice. Gingrich had spent four years seeing his fellow Republicans in the House react instead of act. The group met weekly and planned.

Those who argue that Gingrich in inconsistent or a slave to pollsters and public opinion would note the 1983 Conservative Opportunity Society manifesto. As outlined in a conference in Baltimore to signal the arrival of the COS, it is remarkable for its consistency with 1995's Renewing American Civilization lectures.

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 98-100 , Jun 1, 1995


Newt Gingrich on Personal Life

Parents married only a few months; named after stepfather

Kathleen Gingrich [Newt's mother] described her brief marriage in words that could have been lifted straight from a Tammy Wynette song. "We were married on a Saturday and I left him on a Tuesday. I got Newtie in those three days."

The baby born June 17, 1943, was named Newton Leroy McPherson. His mother was just 17. His father, Newton McPherson, was away in the Navy, soon to be sued for divorce by Kathleen.

Newton and Kit, as she was known, had been married when she was just 16 year that her father was killed in a car accident. Newton was 19 and a mechanic. Kit Gingrich likes the story of how she left Newton three days after her wedding, but in fact, it was several months. Newton came home after a night of carousing. He and Kit quarreled, Newton struck her, and Kit fled to her mother's house, which would be Newt's boyhood home.

When Newt was three years old, Kit married a young Army veteran, Bob Gingrich. Newt's sister was Candace Gingrich, 23 years Newt's junior.

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 66-67 , Jun 1, 1995

Dated his geometry teacher in high-school; married her later

Throughout that senior year, Newt was keeping a major secret, going off alone to make hushed phone calls that were the subject of speculation among his friends. He was dating Jackie Battley, his 24-year-old geometry teacher. The couple was married in a bittersweet ceremony after his freshman year. Bob Gingrich refused to attend, believing the boy too young and the 7-year age difference too great. Kit Gingrich, who carried the memory of her short first marriage, agreed with her husband. The Gingrich sisters stayed at home as well.

"If you live your life hostage to everybody else's decisions," he told the Washington Post years later, "you either have to live a very narrow life or you have to spend a lot of time in pain. I hoped my mother would come..I never held it against her. I never held it against him."

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 75-76 , Jun 1, 1995

Contract with America: 10 bills in 1st 100 days of Congress.

Gingrich wrote the Contract with America:

As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body, we propose not just to change its policies, but to restore the bounds of trust between the people and their elected representatives. That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.

    Within the first hundred days of the 104th Congress, we shall bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given a full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote, and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny:
  1. The Fiscal Responsibility Act: Balanced budget amendment & line item veto
  2. The Taking Back Our Streets Act: More prisons, more enforcement, more death penalty
  3. The Personal Responsibility Act: Limit welfare to 2 years & cut welfare spending
  4. The Families Reinforcement Act: Use tax code to foster families
  5. The American Dream Restoration Act: Repeal marriage tax; cut middle class taxes
  6. The National Security Restoration Act: No US troops under UN command; more defense spending
  7. The Senior Citizens Fairness Act: Reduce taxes on Social Security earnings
  8. The Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act: Incentives to small businesses
  9. The Common Sense Legal Reforms Act: Limit punitive damages
  10. The Citizen Legislature Act: Term limits on Congress
Further, we will work to enact additional budget savings, beyond the budget cuts specifically included in the legislation above, to ensure that the federal budget will be less than it would have been without the enactment of these bills. Respecting the judgment of our fellow citizens as we seek their mandate for reform, we hereby pledge our names to this Contract with America.
Source: Contract with America 93-CWA1 on Sep 27, 1994

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Newt Gingrich on other issues:
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