Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said President Barack Obama’s plan to fix the economy through stimulus spending and government intervention to boost companies like General Motors Corp. has "already failed."
Gingrich was the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for the Republican House and Senate campaign committees, filling a role President George W. Bush had served for the past eight years.
"Bureaucrats managing companies does not work, politicians dominating the economy does not work," Gingrich told about 2,000 Republicans who attended the event at the Washington Convention Center last night.
Some Republican leaders hailed Gingrich, the leader of the 1994 "Republican Revolution," as a de facto head of the party at a time when Republicans are looking for ideas to lead them back to the majority.
In introducing Gingrich, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin called him the “architect of the last reform movement” and “the man of ideas.”
Gingrich was preceded by a series of Republican leaders who also took aim at Democrats and the government bailout of Detroit-based GM, New York-based American International Group Inc. and other companies.
Congress in February passed a $787 billion stimulus measure that Republican lawmakers have criticized, saying it hasn’t lived up to administration promises.
Obama said yesterday there are signs the economy may be headed toward a recovery. "We're seeing a reduction in the fear that gripped the market just a few months ago," he said at the White House.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Obama has a "radical agenda." Republicans have "watched them take over banks, insurance companies, auto companies," he said, “and now they want to take over your health care.”
"We’re going to need some wins next November to slow down their agenda," said McConnell. House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said Democrats are using their control of Congress "to bury our children and the middle class under a mountain of debt."
Actor Jon Voight, the master of ceremonies, opened the evening with a series of sharp attacks on Obama, something many Republican leaders have been hesitant to do in light of the president’s high approval ratings.
A USA Today/Gallup Poll taken May 29-31 gave him a 61 percent approval rating.
"We are becoming a weak nation," said Voight, calling Obama a "false prophet." Republicans need to find their way back to power to free the nation from "this Obama oppression," he said.
Both McConnell and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who followed Voight, seemed pleasantly surprised.
"I’m still just reveling that someone from Hollywood made a speech like that. I hope you’re going to be able to find work after this," said McConnell. "I really enjoyed that."
Senator John Cornyn of Texas called the speech "refreshing."
The dinner, which included 150 members of Congress, raised $14.5 million for the Republican House and Senate campaign committees.
Alaska Governor and former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell were among the special guests.
Gingrich dialed back his criticism of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, only saying she is "wrong" on the issue of quotas, without citing any rulings she had made in favor of racial quotas.
After Obama nominated Sotomayor on May 26, Gingrich posted a blog saying, "A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw."
On June 3, Gingrich took back his description of her as a "racist," though he continued to criticize a 2001 speech by her as a "betrayal" of fundamental principles. In the speech, she suggested a "wise Latina" would reach "better" decisions than white males.
Obama nominated Sotomayor, 54, last month to succeed retiring Justice David Souter. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first Hispanic to sit on the nation’s highest court.
Obama said last week: "I’m sure she would have restated" her 2001 remarks if given the chance and that she was saying that her life experiences would help her understand other people’s struggles.
Click to view image: 'f7d9612051b9-3344154331_c959e6c761.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|