Newt Gingrich photo

Gingrich Campaign Press Release - Eastern Iowa Rally Lights up for Gingrich

August 08, 2011

By Hannah Hess

Of the four candidates who gathered to speak at the Republican rally in Tiffin, Iowa on Friday night, Newt drew the most applause as he focused on his economic policy that would cut corporate tax rates, deregulate the economy, and capitalize on American energy reserves.

TIFFIN — Four Republican presidential candidates each gave a crowd of more than 400 eastern Iowa Republicans a laugh at President Barack Obama's expense Friday night, but it may be former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich who laughs the loudest if his applause translates into support.

Gingrich, Michigan U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum turned out for the five-county event in Tiffin a week before the Ames Straw Poll.

McCotter called the president "nothing more than Jimmy Carter in a leather suit," causing the hundreds packed into the Clear Creek-Amana High School cafeteria to chuckle.

Santorum mocked Obama during a rail on American exceptionalism — "If everyone is exceptional, Mr. President, nobody is," — and sent the picnic fundraiser crowd to another round of applause and chortles.

When Pawlenty ridiculed Obama's resume, saying the former Illinois state senator was in Congress "long enough to have a cup of coffee before it got cold," a murmur of amusement snaked through the blue plastic folding chairs and red table-clothed cafeteria benches.

But it was Gingrich's 20-minute speech that sent the loudest waves of applause and laughter reverberating off the cinder block walls.

Gingrich branded Obama's presidency as a "remarkable" combination of "radicalism and incompetence," called repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act approved during his presidency a "no-brainer," and encouraged the crowd to start working with him to change the country's policies before the next election.

The 68-year-old career politician, professor, historian and author has been in politics longer than any of the other candidates who addressed the eastern Iowa crowd Friday. He proved that he knows how to deliver a stump speech.

Julie Crook, a 63-year-old from Newton who said she is still undecided about who she will support for 2012, found herself putting her hands together most during Gingrich's speech, the third of the night.

"He had a very dynamic message," said Crook, a quality control inspector at Hanson Directory Service, Inc. "What he wants to do with the government if he became president is what I would want to do to. So I was very impressed with that."

Gingrich's message centered on an economic policy modeled after former President Ronald Reagan's initiatives that would include cutting corporate tax rates, deregulating the economy and capitalizing on American energy reserves. He delivered his speech while casually leaning against a podium plastered with a poster of Reagan.

"If you drop the (corporate) tax rate to 12.5 percent, you will get more money out of General Electric than you're getting at 35 percent," Gingrich said as an example of his policies, compared to the current administration. "Because 35 percent is getting zero, because they hire hundreds of tax lawyers to avoid the taxes. If they're 12.5 percent, they'll fire half the lawyers and write the check."

The audience roared with applause.


The speeches delivered Friday will be the final deciding factor for many of the Republicans in the audience.

"I'm open and I'm here to learn," said 72-year-old Connie Norton.

She came from Coralville with 76-year-old Pat Collins, also undecided, to hear the candidates stump. Both said they will head to Ames next Saturday to cast votes in the straw poll.

The draw for Mark Radeleff, a 62-year-old Vietnam veteran from Viola, was a chance to shake hands and look the candidates in the eye.

"Sometimes you just gotta look them in the face," said Radeleff, who voted for McCain in 2008. He said Friday served as a good "snapshot" of where the race stands now.

Newt Gingrich, Gingrich Campaign Press Release - Eastern Iowa Rally Lights up for Gingrich Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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