Gingrich makes quick stop in Fort Myers
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich focused on the Obama administration and a party opponent during a short speaking appearance Tuesday in Fort Myers.
Gingrich, who is running for the 2012 Republican nomination, stopped to speak to a crowd of a couple hundred supporters in the parking lot of the Hobby Lobby, located near 9355 Ben C. Pratt/Six Mile Cypress Parkway.
Scheduled to appear at 4 p.m., he arrived at 5:15 p.m. and spoke for 15 minutes before hopping back on his bus to head to Naples for an event.
During his speech, Gingrich highlighted what he considers the pitfalls of the current administration. He said last year was the highest for gas prices and the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to raise gas prices 25 cents.
Gingrich questioned Obama’s rejection of the Keystone pipeline.
“We need a new dynamic approach,” he said of the country’s problems.
If he made it into office, Gingrich vowed to ask Congress to stay in session longer to repeal Obamacare and the Frank-Dodd Act, among other things.
“They take away that threat of burden,” he said of the repeals.
At one point in the speech, a person in the crowd asked if Gingrich he intended to send troops to Iran. After gently shushing those booing in the crowd, Gingrich called for a switch in leadership as peacefully as possible.
“I think they (Iran) are a direct threat to our cities if they end up getting nuclear weapons,” he said.
Gingrich also spent a portion of his speech calling the crowd’s attention to the differences between himself and Mitt Romney. He referred to Romney as a “Massachusetts moderate,” compared to his “Reagan conservative” self.
He called Obamacare and Romneycare “too close for distinction.”
“But it’s really important for us to draw the distinctions,” Gingrich said.
He covered his past accomplishments while in office, including a low unemployment rate, tax cuts and a decrease in government spending.
“I want to run this fall as a person dedicated to jobs and paychecks,” he said.
Cape resident Michelle Moriarity attended Tuesday with her two youngest children, 4-year-old Riley and 19-month-old Sophia. A registered Republican, Moriarity brought the family out to get as close to their pick as possible.
“Just to see Newt,” she said. “I figured this would be the closest I’d get.”
Moriarity called Gingrich a good speaker and quick with a comeback.
“I think he can beat Obama in the election,” she said. “He seems to know what he’s talking about – more than the others.”
Hoping the crowd was thinner so her family could get closer to Gingrich, Moriarity said she brought her two oldest children out to see Bush in 2004.
“Just to be able to them, ‘Hey, you saw this person,'” she said of why she brings her children out to candidates’ speeches while they are young.
Fort Myers resident Lee McLaws also was present Tuesday.
“I want more people to realize I want him for president, and he should be president,” he said while holding a handmade “Newt for president” sign.
McLaws noted Gingrich’s military background, a point close to his heart.
“I’ve liked the leadership style that he shows,” he said.
Asked about Romney, McLaws clearly stated that he did not like him. McLaws said his brother-in-law told him that Romney bankrolled Massachusetts and that no one would vote for him again, which is why Romney did not run again.
“Romney may be a good businessman, but he’d not a good leader,” he said.
Gingrich is running against Ron Paul, Romney and Rick Santorum.
The Republican preference primary is Jan. 31. Early voting continues.