FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Former House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich visited Federal Way, Washington Friday. He blasted President Barack Obama’s energy and tax policies. Some party officials hope to translate Friday's crowds into support for Gingrich at the Republican caucuses March 3rd. KUOW’s Amy Radil reports.
Gingrich appeared at a small, tightly packed hotel ballroom. His main theme at the rally was the projected rise in gas prices. Gingrich said if elected he’d seek all means to boost domestic oil production by drilling.
Gingrich said he would be “President Oil” and mocked Obama as “President Algae” for embracing biofuels. “Every single practical step that’s doable, that the technical experts and the industry say can be done, is opposed by Barack Obama," he said. "And it’s opposed because he represents a left-wing worldview that believes we should not be allowed to have the car or truck we want.”
Gingrich also blasted Congress’ recent extensions of unemployment benefits, saying he’d never give “99 weeks of money for doing nothing.”
And in the wake of opposition by Catholic bishops to paying for birth control for employees, Gingrich called Obama’s “the most anti-religious administration in American history.”
“Recently they have declared war on the Catholic Church," Gingrich said. "I think it is a fundamental violation of the Declaration of Independence and a fundamental violation of the First Amendment, what Obama is doing.”
With the rally full, a few dozen people gathered to await Gingrich outside the hotel. John Magee was one of them. He couldn’t hear Gingrich’s remarks inside, but said he’s well aware of Gingrich’s support for religious groups.
“He defends my church," Magee said. "The Roman Catholic church of all the churches in particular, is under attack.”
Magee said he also likes Gingrich’s proposals to shrink the size of the federal government.
The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has concluded that Gingrich’s plan would increase the federal debt more than any other Republican candidate because of his tax cuts. Gingrich responded that his policy is “not designed to be revenue neutral” but to give Americans more money and shrink government revenues.
Copyright 2012 KUOW.