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Gingrich: ‘Dramatic change’ needed in Washington

This news story was published on November 15, 2011.
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gingrich-newt-1-2011-11-15-sukupby Joe Buttweiler, photos by Steve Waechter.

SHEFFIELD – Saying he wants to be known as the paycheck president instead of a food stamp president, former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich urged Iowans on Tuesday to stand with him to force change in federal government.

And continuing growth in agriculture will be a key to moving the nation’s economy forward, Gingrich said in a speech to employees at Sukup Manufacturing Co.

Click here to view photos.

He said his candidacy for the presidency is more cultural than political, focused on finding ways to make America work. He referred to President Barack Obama as the food stamp president and said real economic recovery will begin next November “when people realize President Obama is gone.”

Gingrich asked how many in the audience had tracked a package online. Several hands went up. “But the federal government can’t find 11 million people who are here illegally. So think: If we sent all of them a package …” he said, drawing laughter and applause.

Alluding again to technology that works, the former 20-year congressman from Georgia asked how many had used an automated teller machine in another country. The system almost instantly verifies your identity and that you’ve got money available, then converts to the proper currency and dispenses the cash. If modern management were applied to the federal government it would save $500 million a year, he said.

Gingrich said he would focus as president on making the United States more successful quickly by changing the tax code and regulations. Allowing equipment purchases to be depreciated in one year would quickly make U.S. industry the most modern in the world, he said.

gingrich-newt-2-2011-11-15-sukupGingrich said he has been a supporter of ethanol for many years and is “very deeply committed” to energy independence. Rapid growth in corn yields will quell any debate about the wisdom of using corn for fuel instead of food, he said.

Gingrich, who also planned stops in Mason City and Osage on Tuesday, began his comments at Sukup by noting that “things can change very rapidly” in the Republican presidential contenders race. He said a lot of the news media had written his candidacy off as dead months ago, but he was introduced as a front-runner last week.

“I believe we have to have very dramatic change in Washington,” Gingrich said, asking Sukup employees not only to support him in getting elected, but to stand with him in reshaping the nation.

He answered several questions from employees. He said he would support legislation forbidding members of Congress from trading securities based on insider information. A “60 Minutes” segment Sunday outlined the legal but arguably immoral insider trading, and Congress’ unwillingness to abide by laws others must follow.

Asked about securing the borders, Gingrich said he would send half of the Homeland Security personnel in Washington to the Mexican border.

Asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement, Gingrich said he thinks a lot of people are genuinely angry about the country and bailouts of large banks. But a group of left-wingers turned the movement into a “trash-America” campaign, he said. Rather than focusing on tearing down those who have done well, people should focus on raising themselves up. “I like the idea of leveling up vs. leveling down,” he said.

Gingrich said that if he is elected he will immediately launch a mission to get more Americans working. “If millions of Americans are not working, America’s not working.”

Gingrich, who served as Speaker of the House from 1995-1999, is well known as a co-author of the Contract With America, which helped sweep Republicans into control of Congress in 1994.

He was introduced Tuesday by Sukup Manufacturing Co. President and CEO Charles Sukup.

“It’s a great opportunity to show him manufacturing in North Iowa and what our employees are concerned about,” he said prior to Gingrich arriving.
Sukup characterized Gingrich as a big thinker who focuses more on ways to help the country than on partisanship.

After speaking with employees, Gingrich took a tour of Sukup Manufacturing, which makes grain storage and handling equipment such as bins, dryers and conveyors.

Gingrich was the third Republican presidential hopeful to visit Sukup Manufacturing in the past five months. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota visited in September and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania visited in June.

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