The Washington Times - May 23, 2011, 12:17AM

Former Republican Speaker of the House and now GOP presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich spoke to The Washington Times on Sunday in D.C. about his campaign. The former House Speaker hit rocky roads at the launch of his campaign last week, when he made critical remarks about the budget plan proposed by Republican Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.

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Mr. Gingrich quickly retracted those comments and apologized to Mr. Ryan. However, Ryan budget supporters went after Mr. Gingrich and we asked if he felt his remarks hurt him with caucus voters during his last trip to Iowa.

“It was amazing. With the single exception of one guy who got picked up on television, we had overflow crowds everywhere,” he said. “We expected 40 people at 2 in the afternoon—we had 178 and so everywhere I was going all week the Washington press corp. was complaining the campaign was over and the people of Iowa were showing up for the campaign. We were having great meetings.”

President Barack Obama is looking to raise at least a billion dollars for his 2012 re-election campaign war chest, and many believe it will be more than difficult for any Republican contender to compete against an Oval Office incumbent who has that kind of money to spend, but Newt Gingrich disagrees with that notion.

“I don’t think you can raise enough money to hide from reality,” he said. “The president has an economic program that kills jobs. He has a health care program that must be repealed. He has an economic policy that is impossible. You can’t borrow from the Chinese to buy Brazilian oil which seems to be his program.” 

He added, “I think the President is going to have a very hard time getting re-elected. Even if he tries to raise so much money that he can drown his opponent, the American people will not let his opponent be drowned (with money).”

President Obama’s recent policy proposal for Israel to return to its 1967 borders does not sit well with Mr. Gingrich. The president took much heat from not only Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but also many Americans who do not support the idea of right of return.

“I think it’s fundamentally wrong for the civilized world to create moral equality between a democracy and a terrorist organization committed to destroying that democracy. I think people should quit talking about trying to get to peace as long as Hamas insists on having as its goal the destruction of Israel. People should talk about how do we defeat and change Hamas not how do we force Israel to an indefensible 1967 borders.”

Since potential high profile Republican candidates like former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels decided not to run for the White House recently, speculations as to where their supporters may re-direct both political and financial support.

A May 19 National Journal poll shows Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty with 26% benefiting the most from the recent GOP exits. Mr. Gingrich, however, is further behind with only 6%, 1% less than former GOP Pennsylvania Rep. Rick Santorum. It should be noted that Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, who just announced on Sunday he will not be running, is included in this poll earning 12%, so it’s more than likely these numbers have already changed. 

Mr. Gingrich believes the voters will ultimately decide where to put their support. “I wouldn’t presume,” he said. “I think this a wide open field and everybody is going to have a chance to talk with the American people and offer solutions.”