Newt Gingrich announces run for president - We have an exclusive interview

DeWayne Bartels
Newt Gingrich, who announced today, he is running for president, comes to Eureka on Saturday.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich will be the keynote speaker at Eureka College’s commencement ceremony May 14 in Rinker Amphitheater.

“Newt Gingrich’s commencement address to the Class of 2011 will be the finale to our successful year-long Ronald Reagan Centennial celebration,” said Eureka College President J. David Arnold. “We are delighted to host a national leader who recognizes and identifies with the leadership legacy of Eureka’s most famous graduate.”

In advance of his visit, Gingrich answered questions from the Woodford Times.

What do you plan to talk about at Eureka College, and why that topic?

“My talk will center on American Exceptionalism, the fact that we are the only nation in history founded on self-evident truths expressed in the Declaration of Independence, that we are all endowed by our creator with unalienable rights, and that this belief is under attack in modern America.  

But of course, I will be talking about President Reagan, his life and his important contribution to our nation.

You are coming to Reagan country. Please tell us how Reagan influenced you?

Ronald Reagan demonstrated the power of conservative ideas in action and the importance of clear strategic goals and consistent execution in service of those goals.  He allowed people to feel good about being a conservative but as President, he restored faith in America, played an important role along with Pope John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher in defeating the Soviet Union, and reinvigorated the economy with the right pro-growth policies.

Would you describe yourself as a Reagan Republican? If so, what does that mean to you?

Yes. It means having an overriding faith in the wisdom and compassion of the American people as opposed to faith in an oppressive welfare state.  

Reagan put his trust in the American people, not government.  

America is only 4 percent of the world’s population yet it produces 25 percent of the world’s wealth.  

America produces more innovations, inventions, creativity and discovery than the rest of the world combined as a result of free people pursuing happiness. Reagan knew this and his policies reflected it.

Central Illinois is far from the Beltway. This is what is referred to in big cities as fly over country. Are our leaders serving our interests in central Illinois or even care about them in your view?

With high unemployment, $4-a-gallon gasoline, and huge deficits, it is hard to argue that our leaders are serving the interests of any Americans but the interests of rural America are most underrepresented.

How are you differentiated from the rest of the GOP pack possibly going after the nomination?

I am the only candidate who can point to a real record of results on a national level: balancing the federal budget which remained balanced for four years; paying off over $400 billion in debt; welfare reform; the first tax cuts in 16 years; increasing funding for defense and our intelligence community; and lowering the capital gains tax.

Have you decided to run for sure?

I have been very encouraged by the feedback we’ve received at and will be announcing my decision soon.

Prices are rising and for many Americans wages are stagnant. People are worried. The Middle Class is under attack. Do you have anything to say to offer people hope?

America has faced challenges before and we have overcome them together. We can do so again with the right policies and the right proven conservative leadership.

Why do you still believe in the possibility of America?

America is a proposition as much as it is a nation because we recognize that we are endowed by our Creator not by government.  Anyone with a dream willing to persevere can succeed.  We just need to make sure government stays out of the way. If we commit to protecting individual liberty with the right policies and leadership, America will continue to be the most powerful and successful country for at least the duration of the 21st Century.