Former House Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich explained on Thursday morning to radio host John McCaslin on the Washington Times affiliated radio show America’s Morning News why he thinks the current popularity of fellow GOP candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas will not last long.
“Look, I think the odds are against the Republican Party of nominating somebody who is for drug legalization and who doesn’t understand that an Iranian nuclear weapon is dangerous and who believes that the government of the United States is to blame for 9/11,” said Speaker Gingrich. “I think when people look at his whole record, it’s very unlikely he’s going to be the nominee.”
Mr. Gingrich acknowledged that Congressman Paul has a devoted following and strong volunteer base saying that Paul’s ”…got millions of dollars” and adding, “He’s got strong volunteers who obviously are other people who want to legalize drugs, and there’s no question he’s got a good ground game.”
“Alcohol’s a deadly drug,” Rep. Paul said at the last CNN hosted GOP debate. “The really deadly drugs are the prescription drugs. They kill a lot more people than the illegal drugs. The drug war is out of control. I fear the drug war because it undermines our civil liberties, it magnifies our problems on the borders, and we’ve spent like over the last 40 years a trillion dollars on this war.”
(Listen to the audio interview clip of Mr. Gingrich here.)
Gingrich told McCaslin he believes Paul’s main support comes from those who want to see drugs legalized.
“I think the key to his volunteer base is people who want to legalize drugs, and I think when the average Republican understands that, his candidacy will shrink pretty dramatically.”
“But he has run a good campaign. He believes sincerely in what he believes, and he’s been a cheerful steady advocate for his views and you have to have respect for that,” Gingrich later said.
At the moment, according to the latest Rasmussen Iowa caucus poll, the Texas Congressman is currently in second and trailing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by 5 percentage points. Mr. Gingrich, however, is polling third and is three percentage points behind Rep. Paul.
“I think he’s run a very good campaign and you actually have great respect for Ron Paul because he’s put together his coalition based on what I think are pretty unorthodox ideas, but he has nonetheless attracted a pretty good following,” Gingrich said.
New Hampshire is another story, though. A December 13, Rasmussen New Hampshire primary poll shows Romney in first with a ten percent lead over Mr. Gingrich who is second in that same poll. Rep. Paul, with 18 percent in the Rasmussen New Hampshire primary poll is four points behind Mr. Gingrich.
Congressman Paul has been repeatedly hammered by his opponents in past debates over his foreign policy views. Republican presidential candidates including Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Senator Rick Santorum have gone after Rep. Paul over his views on the Middle East and describe them as “dangerous.”
When asked about Rep. Paul’s 9/11 “truther” views, Speaker Gingrich answered, “It’s kind of strange. If you watch the debates and you go back and pull together his comments in all the debates and just string them into one theme, you can kind of see it.”
“This is a guy who basically says, if the United States were basically nice, we wouldn’t have had 9/11. He doesn’t want to blame the bad guys,” Gingrich said of Congresman Paul’s views on 9/11,” Gingrich said.
“He thinks it was wrong to take out al-Awlaki even though he was actively an enemy combatant urging the killing of Americans. You just go down the list. And he dismisses the danger of an Iranian nuclear weapon and seems to be indifferent to the idea that Israel can be wiped out.”