Friday, August 18, 2006

Photo One: Mac Collins and Newt Gingrich at a press conference in Warner Robins.
Photo Two: Mac Collins and Newt Gingrich speaking at the home of Rick and Judy Goddard.

Gingrich stumps for Mac Collins

By Gene Rector


From the Macon Telegraph
August 18, 2008

WARNER ROBINS - Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich weighed in on Georgia's 8th Congressional District race Thursday, saying a vote for Republican Mac Collins will "help the president, help the country and keep the House in the hands of people who share the values of the people of Georgia."

Gingrich held an afternoon news conference at Collins' Warner Robins campaign headquarters on Watson Boulevard, then attended a fundraiser at the home of Rick and Judy Goddard.

Collins, a Jackson native, is battling incumbent Rep. Jim Marshall in the newly redrawn district that includes Bibb and Houston counties along with at least parts of 19 others.

Gingrich, who left the House in 1999 after 20 years, said the nation is facing a "very serious period in its history." The Georgia historian and author - and possible presidential candidate in 2008 - said the nation's political climate today is very similar to the mid- to late-1930s and the buildup to World War II.

"It is very similar in terms of the threat that's emerging and the element of our democracy who wants to hide from it," he said. "Having a strong defense, having a strong Robins Air Force Base and doing the right things for America's security is central to our survival."

A strong national defense is not a luxury, Gingrich said. "And I see no evidence that the San Francisco Democrats of Nancy Pelosi have any idea how dangerous the world is and how important it is to be strong." Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, represents California's 8th District and would likely become speaker should the Democrats win a majority in the November election.

Gingrich said the local congressional race offers voters a very clear contrast. "There's no question that if Mac Collins wins and there is conservative leadership in the House, the president will get what he asks for in terms of national security money," Gingrich said.
At least one party is trying to deal in a serious way with direct threats to the nation's survival, he said. Turning House leadership over to Pelosi and the Democrats, Gingrich emphasized, would turn that role over to a party that "wants to start from weakness, appease the dictators and terrorists and ultimately put us in a position of surrender because we'll have no strength left."

Collins said it is difficult to fund guns and butter but that's where we are. "We're at war," he said, "yet we have a lot of social programs that have to be funded. We have had aggression and we'll have it again. So we have to fund the guns part and take another look at the butter part."

Sen. Joe Lieberman's loss to newcomer Ned Lamont in Connecticut's Democratic primary said more about the Democratic Party than the country at large, Gingrich suggested. "The country may not be going to the left, but the Democratic Party is," he said. "A very left-wing candidate who favored weakness, appeasement and surrender was able to win the nomination against a very senior senator who has been his own party's vice presidential candidate."

Gingrich said polls released Thursday morning showed Lieberman, running as an independent, had a double-digit lead over Lamont and a Republican challenger.

Gingrich was sharply critical of the U.N. cease-fire plan in south Lebanon. "The Hezbollah, Syria and Iran have claimed victory," he said, "and the Hezbollah are strengthening their position. They are not going to be disarmed. It's very clear that the Lebanese army will not do that."
The next three to six months will determine who is right, he said. "But every indication I have is that this resolution will not achieve anything but give the terrorists and dictators time to prepare for the next round," Gingrich added.

He said he was not happy with everything that has occurred in Washington under a Republican-controlled Congress and White House. "But this is not about Washington being perfect," Gingrich said.

"If most people walk into the voting booth thinking their vote could decide whether we have a conservative speaker or a San Francisco liberal, then that will make this a very important election," he said.