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Gingrich Battles Santorum in historic Alabama Theater

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In a major victory for the Alabama Republican Party, almost 2000 likely Republican voters and media crowded into the historic Alabama Theater in Birmingham to witness the first ever Alabama Republican Party Presidential Forum.  Former Pennsylvania Senator Richard John “Rick” Santorum and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newton Leroy “Newt” Gingrich both addressed the assembled crowd and the television audience watching on C-Span and local television.  Both candidates explained in detail why the Republican Party should pick them to represent the party in its November 6th challenge of Democratic incumbent Barack H. Obama.

Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Bill Armistead said that “People all over Alabama are excited” about this election and that “all four presidential candidates were invited to speak hear tonight.”  Speaker Gingrich and Senator Santorum both “accepted our invitations.”  Chairman Armistead said that “All eyes are on Alabama,” and predicted a record turnout for today’s Republican Primary. “Go out and vote for the candidates of your choice tomorrow.”  “Let’s replace Barack Obama in the White House.”  Armistead urged everyone to “get behind our (the eventual Republican) nominee and work like your life depended on it because it does.”

Former Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania said, “In every speech I give I say that this is the most important election in your lifetime no matter how old you are.”  Santorum said that President Obama favored “regulating every aspect of your life.”

Sen. Santorum said that the President had said NO to more offshore drilling, NO to opening up energy exploration in more of Alaska, NO to opening up federal lands to energy exploration and that, “Even with private lands we have a President who is putting that at risk by threating to pass regulations over something called hydraulic fracturing which we have been doing since World War II.”

‘We need a President who understands what this economy needs to get going.”   Sen. Santorum said that he supports increasing the number of manufacturing jobs because the opportunity to get a job no matter what your skill level is and the pride of going to work every day is how America works and a big part of that is manufacturing. Santorum said that he was the only person in this race with a plan for bringing manufacturing jobs back to America.

Sen. Santorum said, “I am serious about shrinking the size of government.” He said that his administration would make $5 trillion in cuts to federal spending, would balance the budget in five years, and would spend less each year than he did before.  Santorum said that would reform entitlements and would send entitlement programs back to the states

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Sen. Santorum said the Obamacare was why he got in this race.  Once fully implemented “every single American will be dependent on the federal government,” for their health benefits. When government says we will give you a right, be careful.  When government says they give you a right, they can take it away.  “You will do what you are told with this new right you have.”  “We believe that Obamacare is a game changer for America.”

Sen. Santorum said, “The problem is government is not the source of rights in this country.” “Where do rights come from is the most important issue in this race.”  “Liberty is at stake in this election.  We have a President who believes in ruling you from the top down, that he knows best how to run America.”  “President Obama said America is a better country because of all these entitlement programs.  I will go one step further and say that America was not a great country until these entitlement programs.  That is how President Obama views America.”  Sen. Santorum said that his grandfather came to this country for freedom not for entitlement that we did not even have in 1925.

Sen. Santorum said, “I want to thank the tea party for”…….. “resurrecting what people in Washington called a dead document and this is the Constitution.” Santorum stressed that the “Constitution is anchored and tethered to the Declaration of Independence.”  “The Constitution does not give us rights. That is wrong.  Rights are written on our hearts because we are creatures of God.”  “Our Constitution was created to protect those rights.”

Presidential candidate said, “After four years of looking at what putting your faith in government would do, we need to do something different.  Instead of looking to Washington for a leader we can believe in

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich represented Georgia’s Sixth district for 20 years in the United States Congress until 1999.  Speaker Gingrich said, “Thank you for that very warm welcome.”  “I am Delighted to be here.  Callista and I are very delighted by the warm welcome.”

Speaker Gingrich said, “The President’s press secretary basically attacked me because I have been talking about the need for an American energy policy to develop our energy capacity so no American President will ever need to bow to a Saudi King. If we developed our energy capacity to the degree we could then the price of gas would drop.  This is supply and demand.” Gingrich said that Secretary Carney said “Any politician who does that (says that there is a plan to drop gas prices to $2.50 a gallon) is lying (Jay Carney) there is no such plan.  I want to take this moment to respond to the President and to his press secretary first of all Mr. President I would be happy to debate you anywhere in the country at any time.”  The Ga. Congressman said that President Obama’s speeches on energy “are so patently indefensible that they are incoherent.”

Speaker Gingrich defended his plan saying that in 2008 the U.S. Geological survey estimated that there were four billion barrels of oil in North Dakota.  After drilling began, that estimate changed to eight billion barrels.  With the discovery of a second seam of oil underneath the first seam they announced that there was actually 24 billion barrels of oil in North Dakota.  As technology advances more and more oil will be recoverable.  The North Dakota oil field alone has doubled the previous estimates of our petroleum reserves.  Newt Gingrich said that there was also a large new field in West Texas and that the Monterrey formation in California might contain up to 80 billion barrels by itself.  “The idea of peak energy is a stupid idea.  It is wrong.”

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Speaker Gingrich said that President Obama’s Department of Energy Secretary, Dr. Chu is committed to the idea that Americans should pay the same price as Europeans, $9 or 10 a gallon, “Dr. Chu said, he is not in the business of lowering the price of gasoline. He is in the business of developing replacements for gasoline” then went on about battery research “which I suspect may be some good in 15 or 20 years.”

Speaker Gingrich said we “should abolish the Department of Energy.  No more Solyndras, no more boondoggles.  The President said there are no silver bullets.  He is right but there is a presidential pen and he could change the price of gas by signing three documents:” Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline is 700,000 barrels of Canadian oil a day and improves the delivery of North Dakota, Kansas and Arkansas oil, thus lowers the cost of delivery.  He could open up areas off Texas and Louisiana as the Governor’s requested and that would yield another 400,000 barrels of oil a day.  Open up ANWAR in Alaska and that is another $1.2 million barrels of oil a day.  Those three changes alone would produce an additional 2.3 million barrels of oil a day. “And we Kept that amount of money to create jobs instead of sending it to Saudi Arabia.”  The President said drilling is not the answer the President’s answer was algae.  “I believe in science.  In some place down the road the algae could be useful. It won’t help this summer.”

“I am the one candidate who designed a big choice campaign.”  Speaker Gingrich said he wanted to run President Algae and $10 a gallon gas versus President Drilling and $2.50 gas.  “You can’t buy enough ads to convince Americans that they aren’t paying enough for gas.”

“I will Challenge him to seven Lincoln Douglas style three hour debates.  He believes in the writings of Saul Alinsky.  I believe in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  Speaker Gingrich said, that he has the most experience in running campaigns to be the best candidate and “You also need somebody who can work with Congress to get something done in Washington.  That requires understanding the Constitution and understanding how to influence 435 House members and 100 Senators.  To change Washington you have to be active as citizens.  Washington will never voluntarily change itself.

Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich sad that he will ask Congress to stay in session before the inauguration.  They will repeal Obamacare, will repeal Dodd-Frank, and will repeal Sarbanes-Oxley.  “Two hours after the inauguration, I will sign all three of those bills.”  “On the first day I will sign a series of executive orders.  The First will abolish all the white house czars as of that moment.  We will on that very first day move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  We will reinstate Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy” preventing international organization from using American funds to pay for abortions in other countries.  “I will issue an executive order repealing every anti-religious act by this administration.  We will sign an executive order approving Keystone pipeline.  I can only do all of those things with your help.”  The primary tomorrow really matter and your vote really matters I hope that you decide that having an experienced leader who has done these things before is what we needs as a party and what we need as a country.”

In response to the question, ‘How will you lead the nation back to God?’  Speaker Gingrich said, “You have to have a President who believes that is part of his responsibility. You have to have a President who believes in praying.”  Gingrich said that we need to “re-center the country.” “Part of it frankly is bringing the federal judges back to enforcing the constitution not changing it.”  Gingrich said that he had written “a 54 page document on how you bring the judiciary back in line and end this lawless imposition of anti-religious bigots.” Gingrich said that the media and the elites have made anti-Christian bigotry fashionable.  He said it was “reprehensible and this type of behavior should not be tolerated in polite society.”

On dealing with government employee unions Speaker Gingrich said, “We need a whole new generation of appointees.”  And that we “need to eliminate 130 year civil service laws and replace it with a modern management system.”  “Public employee unions have become very destructive.”

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On national security Speaker Gingrich said, “My dad spent 27 years in the infantry.”  “Obama fully believes in appeasement, apologies, and weakness as a national strategy.”  Gingrich also said that the administration was refusing to acknowledge the religious motivations that were responsible for fanatical behavior.

Speaker Gingrich said, “The President’s defense cuts proposals are absolute suicidal.”  “Leon Panetta should resign as secretary of defense.  He is not the United Nations Secretary of Defense he is the United States Secretary of Defense.”

Presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul did not campaign in Alabama.  Frontrunner, Gov. Mitt Romney, held several events in Alabama and did several radio interviews but elected not to participate in this forum.

To see the event in its entirety go to C-Span’s website:

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Republican-Candidates-Campaign-in-Birmingham-Alabama/10737428947/

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with over nine years at Alabama Political Reporter. During that time he has written 8,297 articles for APR. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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