- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2007

Newt goes green

“Former House Speaker and possible Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich will be in Washington this week to debate Sen. John Kerry on global climate change and the environment. But don’t expect Newt to be in denial mode. A source close to Gingrich says the debate will give him a chance to unveil the market- and technology-based environmental solutions that form the basis of his forthcoming book ‘A Contract With the Earth,’ “ Dan Gilgoff writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“Due out in November — around the time Gingrich will make up his mind about entering the presidential race — the book is co-written with Terry Maple, former director of Zoo Atlanta. ‘Terry and I wrote “A Contract With the Earth” to push conservatives back to their environmental roots vis-a-vis Teddy Roosevelt,’ Gingrich tells us.

“Like his 1994 Contract With America, Gingrich’s book will highlight a 10-point plan that the publisher, Johns Hopkins University Press, says ‘promotes ingenuity over rhetoric’ and calls for a ‘bipartisan environmentalism.’ It’s already received endorsements from Nature Conservancy President Steve McCormick and Wildlife Society Executive Director Michael Hutchins. A source at the publishing house says Newt fans shouldn’t be surprised to learn he’s a tree-hugger: ‘For quite a while, Gingrich has been concerned that the U.S. has not been a leader in environmental issues.’ ”

Gonzales gotta go

Newt Gingrich also is concerned about the U.S. attorney general.

The former House speaker said yesterday that Alberto R. Gonzales should consider resigning as he joined a list of Republicans who say the botched firing of U.S. attorneys has destroyed Mr. Gonzales’ credibility, the Associated Press reports.

“The public would be much better served to have another attorney general,” Mr. Gingrich said. “I cannot imagine how he’s going to be effective for the rest of his administration. They’re going to be involved in endless hearings.”

Mr. Gonzales, a former White House counsel who became attorney general in 2005, is scheduled to testify April 17 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the firing of eight federal prosecutors. It is a congressional showdown thought to be a make-or-break appearance for Mr. Gonzales.

Mr. Gingrich said that all Mr. Gonzales had to do was to say that President Bush wanted new people. Instead, Mr. Gingrich said, the attorney general made a series of misstatements from which he was forced later to backtrack.

“This is the most mishandled, artificial, self-created mess I’ve seen in all the years in my public life,” Mr. Gingrich said. “The buck has to stop somewhere, probably with the attorney general.”

Arnold’s pals

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will address the annual conference of Britain’s Conservative Party, the party said yesterday, citing the Republican governor’s commitment to the environment — an issue the British opposition hopes to claim for its own.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has been attempting to reposition his party in the center, to the dismay of some of the Conservative faithful. But the party, which last won a general election 15 years ago, has seen an increase in support in some polls in Britain, where the government is dominated by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labor Party.

“Governor Schwarzenegger led a dramatic revival of his party’s fortunes in California, and as governor, he has shown tremendous leadership — above all in pioneering measures to protect the environment, reaching out to political opponents in doing so,” Mr. Cameron said.

The Conservative Party conference will be held in Blackpool, in northwest England, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, the Associated Press reports.

Mike vs. Mitt

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was wrong to suggest he was a lifelong hunter even though he never took out a license, campaign rival Mike Huckabee said yesterday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I think it was a major mistake,” said Mr. Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor. “It would be like me saying I’ve been a lifelong golfer because I played putt-putt when I was 9 years old, and I rode in a golf cart a couple of times.”

“I think American people are looking for authenticity,” Mr. Huckabee added. “Match their record with their rhetoric.”

Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, was dogged last week about his hunting activities after he remarked at a campaign stop that he has been a hunter nearly all his life.

The next day, his campaign said Mr. Romney had gone hunting just twice — once as a teenager in Idaho and last year with Republican donors in Georgia. Officials in the four states where Mr. Romney has lived also told the Associated Press that he never took out a license.

Mr. Romney said later that his staff was wrong and that he had hunted rabbits and other small animals for many years, mainly in Utah. Hunting certain small game there does not require a license.

Campus blues

Newt Gingrich worked magic for Republicans in 1994, leading them to a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. But the Gingrich magic apparently didn’t work for College Republicans at the University of Vermont.

The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press reports: “When the club invited Gingrich to speak at Ira Allen Chapel on Oct. 6, 2005, he settled for an undisclosed honorarium that was apparently higher than the College Republicans could afford. They took out a $7,000 loan from the Student Government Association to help pay the bill, but more than a year later, when the loan still wasn’t fully repaid after several ultimatums, the Student Government Association decertified them. In other words, the College Republicans were removed last month from UVM’s long list of ‘recognized,’ or subsidized, student clubs.”

While the total fee for Mr. Gingrich’s appearance “was never revealed,” the newspaper reports, “an educated guess is possible.

“In 2005-06, the College Republicans budgeted $25,000 for speakers. … Gingrich … was the only speaker the club brought in during that academic year. The UVM President’s Office contributed $2,000 toward Gingrich’s fee, as did the Student Life Office. The sum of all those funds, plus the $7,000 from the loan, comes to $38,000.”

Presidential ‘fodder’

“Complaints that this is the earliest presidential election ever are amusing. Lincoln decided to run in 1854,” writes Don Surber of the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail. “Not only was that six years before his nomination, that was before there was a Republican Party.

“And as soon as George Washington appointed John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to his Cabinet, they were jockeying for his job. He served two terms.

“The only difference is now everyone is doing this out in the open. Americans have traded in their subtlety for cable-news fodder.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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