Newt Gingrich addresses about 250 people at Pasadena's Green Hotel… (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer )
Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich promised to drive down the price of gasoline and change the culture in Washington during a 45-minute stop at a packed Pasadena ballroom Monday night.
The former House Speaker from Georgia mocked liberals and earned cheers when he laid out plans for a scaled-back federal government that would foster vigorous job growth.
The strongest applause of the night came when Gingrich decried what he called “President Obama’s war on the Catholic Church.” Gingrich’s criticism came shortly after the president eliminated a part of his health care plan that would have forced religious groups to provide health insurance covering contraception services.
Gingrich also blasted the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for a recent decision finding a 43-foot cross displayed at a public park was an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. Gingrich slammed what he called a “bigoted, anti-religious court.”
Gingrich spoke at the Green Hotel for the second time this campaign season, invited by members of Pasadena’s tea party group, the Pasadena Patriots.
Gingrich arrived on his campaign bus at 5:05 p.m. and went directly to a reception for those who paid $500 a ticket. He emerged 10 minutes later to a standing ovation. Before calling for tax cuts and more domestic oil exploration, Gingrich said, “Everything I’m about to talk to you about is doable, but not with the current Washington establishment.”
He blamed President Obama, but added, “Frankly, some of the Republicans are not very helpful, either.”
Gingrich did not invoke the name of the Republican rival Mitt Romney, and mentioned fellow conservative Rick Santorum only in passing. He said he believes that because of the unsettled state of the Republican race, the California primary may prove to be important in the nomination of the GOP candidate, which has not been the case in recent years.
Gingrich briefly entertained questions, including one from Alexander Keledjian, the president of the Young Republicans of La Cañada Flintridge. Keledjian asked Gingrich how he would bounce back from current low poll ratings.
Gingrich said he’d already been left for dead twice in this campaign, when his original campaign staff abandoned him last year and again after the Iowa caucuses in January. “I’m still here, and we’re going to come back again,” he said.
Orly Taitz, an attorney who has filed a lawsuit claiming President Obama is not an American citizen, asserted that the president uses a fake Social Security card and demanded to know when someone would do something about it.
“That’s a project you should pursue,” Gingrich said. With the deficit at an all time high and other problems plaguing the economy, he added, “I have enough issues to debate Obama about.”
Gingrich earned laughter while painting a portrait of a government afraid to explore for oil or coal because of environmentalist opposition. He said some studies show there is enough domestic oil that people may be able to drive big trucks for years.
For liberals, he said, “Big trucks are inherently bad because you can put a gun rack in back. And the goal of every liberal is to get you in a car too small for a gun rack.”
Pasadena resident Juanita Wyatt, who came to see Gingrich in September and also heard the Pasadena talk by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), said she likes Gingrich and will back whoever the Republican Party selects. “I’m waiting for the one guy to say, “This is what we are going to do,” she said.
Koby Hayashi, a junior at Flintridge Prep, said he feels that politics in California is dominated by Democrats. “I just came to hear a different point of view,” he said.