Gingrich demands energy reform, bashes Obama at Federal Way rally | SLIDESHOW

Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich made a stop in Federal Way on Feb. 24 at the Best Western Evergreen Inn and Suites.

Community members, Truman High School students, protesters and supporters from across Puget Sound made the trip to hear Gingrich deliver his thoughts on why he would be the best GOP candidate to defeat President Barack Obama in November.

In a decidedly more controlled and less raucous crowd than the recent Rick Santorum rally in Tacoma, those gathered were able to catch their favored candidate's message. (See slideshow)

"I want to draw some very sharp distinctions, just to give you a sense of how big the gap is, between the world President Obama wants to create, and the world we want to live in," Gingrich said. "I've come out, very strongly, in favor of an American energy policy. I believe that we should maximize the production of American energy."

Gingrich said he views energy as a national security issue.

"If you had American energy, no future president would ever again bow to a Saudi king," Gingrich said, referencing an incident that many within the GOP and conservative movements saw as distasteful. "And if you have an American energy policy, we'd keep $500 billion a year here at home that's currently going overseas. That would create millions of new jobs, which would put Americans to work."

Gingrich further highlighted the differences he perceives between President Obama and himself, referencing Obama's energy speech given in Florida on Feb. 23.

"The president says, two or three times, 'There is no silver bullet.' Of course there is — defeat Obama," he said to a round of cheers from the crowd. "The president says, 'We can't really solve this problem in my administration, maybe not in this decade.' Very much like Jimmy Carter… So Obama starts describing the future, and one of the solutions he comes up with, as he explains why we can't drill… and one of the solutions he comes up with, is algae."

Gingrich said that while algae is a nice idea, he doesn't think it will be a viable option for decades at least. Along with that, Gingrich unveiled a new campaign tactic that he hopes to use, which will be a poster divided in half, between "President Drilling" or "President Algae."

"You pick, which one do you think is more practical?" he said with the slightest of smiles.

He then shifted into high gear with his criticism of President Obama and his administration.

"Every single practical step that's doable, that the technical experts in the industry say can be done, is opposed by Barack Obama. And it's opposed because he represents a left-wing worldview, which believes that we should not be allowed to have the car or truck that we want because we have the wrong values. And they're happy to impose their values. They want to rig the game so we are literally punished out of the vehicles we drive, and forced into the vehicles they want us to drive," he said.

Outside of the pointed barbs against Obama, Gingrich unveiled another campaign slogan. The candidate hopes it becomes a viral/social media smash, and hopes to accomplish it with a simple equation.

"I'm going to ask you, when you get a chance on Twitter, Facebook, email, to send out, if you will, send out to everybody you know, 'Newt=$2.50 a gallon.' That starts the dance," he said.

Supporter feedback

While several attendees declared themselves as Gingrich supporters, many were curious to learn more about another one of the four main contenders. Gingrich is competing for the Republican nomination against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

"We know President Obama is not what we want," said Lorraine Blacklock of Maple Valley, wearing a Newt button on her sweater.

Federal Way resident Tony Darrington is partial to Santorum's conservative principles, but also likes Gingrich's experience in government.

"He's the best man that follows Reagan's ideas," he said, referring to former President Ronald Reagan.

Sammamish resident John Vasko said Gingrich is an intelligent candidate who backs up statements with facts, and also has an advantage with his experience in Washington, D.C. Vasko believes Gingrich is most adept to handle national security issues if elected president.

"If we don't defend ourselves," Vasko said, "all the other issues don't matter."

Caucus information

The King County Republican Party will hold its Precinct Caucuses at 10 a.m. March 3. To locate a precinct caucus, please visit the Caucus Locator Page online at Those without Internet access can receive caucus location information by telephone (425) 990-0404.

Residents from each precinct gather at their respective tables at a district caucus location. Residents discuss their preferences on candidates.

The overall goal is for each precinct’s participants to pick two or more delegates to vote on behalf of the group at the District 30 convention. The caucus allows participants to sway fellow precinct voters to support their candidate. Voters can also remain uncommitted.

At the district convention, the number of delegates is narrowed down. The process continues at the county and state levels. In the end, those delegates participate in the national nomination process.

The 30th District Republicans meet 7 p.m. the third Thursday of the month at Intellipass, 1925 S. 341st Place in Federal Way. Visit Facebook and search for Kcgop 30th District.


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