Newt Gingrich criticizes President Obama, other Democrats in Naples speech

Newt Gingrich was the guest speaker at Forum Club luncheon on Friday, November 6. President Wade Keller is in the background. Submitted by Wade Keller

Newt Gingrich was the guest speaker at Forum Club luncheon on Friday, November 6. President Wade Keller is in the background. Submitted by Wade Keller

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Former U.S. Congressional House Speaker Newt Gingrich made an appearance at the Barnes & Noble in Naples Friday to promote his new book To Try Men's Souls written with William R. Forstchen.  .  Michel Fortier/Staff

Photo by MICHEL FORTIER

Former U.S. Congressional House Speaker Newt Gingrich made an appearance at the Barnes & Noble in Naples Friday to promote his new book To Try Men's Souls written with William R. Forstchen. . Michel Fortier/Staff

— Forum Club of Southwest Florida members received former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich like he was a long-lost local football hero returning home.

JP Morgan executive Curtis Edwards called Gingrich’s speech “refreshing.”

It was nice to hear someone speak who wasn’t particularly concerned about political correctness, Edwards said after the 1-½-hour Friday session at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club.

Indeed, Gingrich seemed to know his audience and pulled no punches. He slammed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama.

He joked about former Democrats in office, specifically, President Jimmy Carter and Republican President Ronald Reagan’s ability to wrestle back the White House.

Gingrich said the joke at the time was this: “If your brother-in-law loses his job, it is a recession. If you lose your job, it is a depression. If Jimmy Carter loses his job, it is a recovery.”

Gingrich stopped short of calling Pelosi an idiot, but segued into her reaction to Friday morning’s announcement that, nationwide, unemployment had hit 10.2 percent.

Pelosi highlighted the stimulus packages, the just-passed unemployment benefits package and the economic benefits of passing health care reform.

Gingrich doesn’t cleave to government charity. Th Founding Fathers guaranteed the right to pursue happiness and wisdom. It wasn’t a guarantee, he said.

“You can’t sue if you’re not happy,” Gingrich said to laughter.

“If you can’t afford to buy a house, don’t buy it,” he said, to even more laughter and applause by Forum Club members and guests.

He also highlighted how India and China are claiming their places in history: through education, he said.

“We have to, fundamentally, rethink education in America,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich doesn’t advocate the Democrats’ practice of borrowing money from future generations to address problems not.

That’s a waste of money, he said.

If America wants to compete with India and China, voters have to throw out the politicians who seem “committed to be (continuously) stupid,” and match the Chinese capital gains tax, which is zero.

“The Chinese don’t have a stimulus package. They have an investment package,” Gingrich said. “China is not a national security threat to us unless we are incompetent.”

As for America’s presence in Afghanistan, Gingrich said that is a war we must win, but will never win using military strength.

The way to defeat Afghanistan is to build roads for them, transmission towers and give them iPhones.

“We have to bring them out of the Middle Ages,” Gingrich said. “We have to win in Afghanistan. We cannot have people who are dedicated to our annihilation.”

Forum Club member Ula Norris called Gingrich a “brilliant” educator and communicator.

He rises far above the definition of politician, she said.

Gingrich “is a statesman,” Norris said.

In town two weeks ago to sign copies of his new book, Gingrich didn’t shrink from the notion of running for the presidency in 2012.

After lunch, retired executive Garvin Bawden called Gingrich’s comments predictable but with some interesting suggestions.

With so much economic upheaval, asked if he still has faith in our future after all he’s seen in his 84 years, Bawden said, “yes.”

“I’m still a hopeful guy,” Bawden said.

For more Gingrich wisdom, go to www.newt.org.

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