The morning after another combative Republican primary debate, Newt Gingrich emphasized his pro-business, anti-regulation platform – and his connections to Ronald Reagan as a young congressman – in a speech before a Hispanic business group in downtown Miami on Friday.
Unmentioned in Gingrich’s 30-minute speech: Republican rival Mitt Romney.
Speaking at a candidate forum organized by the influential Latin Builders Association, Gingrich emphasized his years as Speaker of the House of Representatives, years when Congress passed welfare reform legislation and balanced the federal budget. And he also cast himself as an early champion of Reagan’s supply-side economics in the early 1980s.
Gingrich promised to go back to the supply-side “playbook” again if elected president, lowering taxes on corporations and gutting the federal bureaucracy. Among his proposals: Erasing the Environmental Protection Agency – what he called a “dictatorial job-killing agency” -- and recasting it as the “Environmental Solutions Agency.”
Gingrich said his top priority as president will be to reduce unemployment.
“In the long run, the answer to the housing crisis is getting people to work,” Gingrich told the association, which includes many large homebuilders.
Gingrich opened his address by endorsing a new bill proposed by Miami congressman David Rivera that would provide citizenship to young immigrants who serve in the U.S. military.
Gingrich’s campaign also announced the creation of a Hispanic “steering committee” to generate support among Hispanic voters. The committee includes Rivera, Miami city commissioner Francis Suarez, Miami-Dade commissioner Xavier Suarez, and Otto Reich, a former ambassador and State Department official.
Romney, Gingrich’s chief rival in the polls, was not scheduled to appear before the builders association, though he was invited to the forum. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is scheduled to speak to the builders group later Friday.