Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A One-Man Think Tank Who Enjoys Rolling Up His Sleeves

On Saturday, March 3, Dave introduced Newt Gingrich at the 34th annual Conservative Political Action Conference. The text of his speech is below.

Thank you very much.

Most of us here know Newt Gingrich as a longtime conservative voice in the mold of Ronald Reagan. As the architect of the 1994 legislative platform, the Contract with America, he placed the House of Representatives in Republican hands for the first time in 40 years.

I had the distinct honor and privilege of working with Speaker Gingrich while I was the Chief Investigator for the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, and with his support we conducted an unfettered investigation to hold the Clinton Administration accountable.

Our familiarity with Speaker Gingrich’s accomplishments does not diminish their magnitude: under his leadership, and standing toe to toe against the Clinton Administration, Congress reformed welfare, passed the first balanced budget in a generation, and gave the American people much-deserved and much-delayed tax relief.

In short, Speaker Gingrich served as our conservative compass, believing that government should be limited, government should be effective, and government should be accountable.

Newt Gingrich is both a big thinker and a bold doer, a one-man think tank who enjoys rolling up his sleeves. His blend of idealism and practicality makes him a peerless source for ideas that are invariably innovative and fresh. His unique ability to jumpstart debate and to challenge the status quo is exactly what the movement needs today.

Since the speaker left professional politics in 1999, his absence has been sorely felt. But he never retired his passion for problem solving. In the mold of other great visionaries, he has continued to ask, What can we do to make America better?

Whether it’s strengthening our national security and intelligence gathering agencies, reforming the United Nations, or transforming entitlement programs, Newt Gingrich never stops asking the tough questions. Equally important, he never retreats from confronting the tough answers.

This, my friends, is leadership.

Since his time as speaker, he has donned many hats: chairman of the Gingrich Group, political analyst for the Fox News Channel, best-selling author, among many other distinguished credentials.

But perhaps the most important service he can provide to his country is yet to come. The evidence: a recent straw poll conducted by Citizens United, asking our supporters who they would vote for if the Republican presidential nomination were held tomorrow. The winner— among more than 2,500 participants, with 31% of the vote—was an undeclared candidate, Newt Gingrich, the choice of conservatives to be our next President of the United States.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming, the 58th Speaker of the House of Representatives and champion of our conservative movement, Newt Gingrich.