- The Washington Times - Monday, December 5, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is on the air in Iowa, releasing his first television ad on Monday, roughly four weeks out from caucuses.

“Some people say the America we know and love is a thing of the past. I don’t believe that. Because working together, I know we can rebuild America,” Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker, says in his “The America We Love” ad.

Mr. Gingrich, whose campaign imploded earlier this year, now runs first in Iowa, according to the latest Des Moines Register poll.

A win in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses could provide the Georgia Republican with an extra boost of momentum heading into the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Mr. Gingrich now leads in the latter state, according to polls from early last week.

And with the demise of Herman Cain’s presidential dreams, Mr. Gingrich also is thought to have the inside track on receiving the endorsement of the former pizza baron.

Until last week, Mr. Gingrich had no formal campaign organization in Iowa.

His campaign said Monday he will be in New York to outline a 50-state strategy for the general election, “should the voters choose him to be the Republican nominee.”

With his surge, though, Mr. Gingrich’s record is coming under increasing scrutiny from his GOP rivals, who’ve pointed out that he has advocated for action on global warming, supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program and embraced the legalization of illegal immigrants — positions that alienate many conservative voters.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul called Mr. Gingrich a “serial” hypocrite for bashing Freddie Mac after collecting more than $1 million working on behalf of the mortgage giant.

On the television talk-show circuit Sunday, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said that after spending 30 years in Washington, it’s “impossible” for Mr. Gingrich to shake up the capital, while former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum painted Mr. Gingrich as an opportunist and said the former speaker put social issues in the “back of the bus.”

“Newt is someone who likes to get issues that are 80 to 90 percent in the polls, and 80 percent in the polls are generally not necessarily conservative — strong conservative issues,” Mr. Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week” program.

Previous front-runners, including Mr. Cain and Mrs. Bachmann, have wilted under the spotlight, and Mr. Gingrich will remain under scrutiny in debates scheduled for this month.

In the ad released Monday, Mr. Gingrich advocates for replacing the federal tax code and vows that “we can revive our economy and create jobs” and “shrink government and the regulations that strangle our businesses.”

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