Notes and Quotes from Newt

Newt Gingrich spoke and answered questions for nearly two hours at a Council of State Governments’ meeting in Lexington, Kentucky earlier this year.

Among my favorite "Gingrichisms" from that day:

  • "If we don’t have substantial change from our current system, we will not be capable of competing with China and India in 25 years."
  • An author of two World War II novels, Gingrich says it’s "startling to realize how competent we once were. In three years and eight months, we moved 15.3 million troops. It took 23 years to add a runway to the Atlanta airport."
  • Washington backed away from support for FutureGen, a clean coal energy project scheduled for Mattoon, Illinois. The government is now saying it will have a clean coal plant in 2016; China’s first clean coal plant will be in 2009
  • Relaying a comment from Fred Smith of FedEx that government can’t distinguish between a cost and an investment. Smith said he couldn’t have explained (to government officials) why he needed a wireless computer for his drivers. "It would have been listed as a cost, not an investment."
  • One of the offices for American Solutions, the organization Gingrich founded and chairs, is in the Silicon Valley to allow regular conversations with entrepreneurs .

More to come from Gingrich in Lexington, as well as a one-on-one interview with the influential leader in the September-October BizVoice magazine. Gingirch comes to the Indiana Convention Center as keynote speaker for the Indiana Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner on November 6 — just two days after we elect our next poltiical leaders.

Gingrich Enjoys Role of Historian

Newt Gingrich is best known for his days in Congress, particularly as Speaker of the House following the 1994 election. Gingrich is also a recognized expert on world history, military issues and international topics, with 10 fiction and non-fiction bestsellers among the 16 books he has authored.

Speaking recently during the Council of State Governments’ (CSG) spring conference as part of its 75th anniversary celebration, Gingrich opened by asking the audience to think back to 1933. Not only was CSG first coming into existence, but radio was on the way to becoming a leading source of information.

"Ronald Reagan used to tell the story how newspapers got a law passed in Congress that radio couldn’t carry any news," he relates. "Reagan was working at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa in 1933 when there was a major earthquake in Los Angeles."

Prevented from directly relaying the news of the day to his listeners, Reagan "would turn down the music and ‘accidentally’ talk to his producer about the quake when new updates came in." A clever way around the ill-conceived law.

Gingrich kept the CSG audience on alert with a variety of stories and opinions. We’ll share more of them here and look forward to his appearance at the 19th Annual Awards Dinner hosted by the Indiana Chamber on November 6.

Saving the World One Idea at a Time

After having the chance to interview Newt Gingrich a few weeks ago (the full story will be online and in our September-October edition of BizVoice on August 29), it wasn’t too surpising to read that he had some grand ideas in response to the Wall Street Journal question: How would you spend $10 billion of American resources over the next four years to help improve the state of the world?

Gingrich has an uncanny ability to define a challenge, craft a solution (usually relying heavily on technology and/or the Internet) and put together the people to try and execute. Do those solutions and his tactics (especially during his term as U.S. Speaker of the House) work? Not always. He is the first to admit as much.

Frank Luntz, the communication guru who worked closely with Gingrich on the famed Contract with America, may have put it best, describing the silver-haired Georgian as probably the "smartest politican" he has ever come across. Luntz added that the strong understanding of issues would also be a drawback as sometimes Gingrich "would go over the head of his audience."

No such concerns when Gingrich appears at the Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner on November 6, two days after the election. He will provide an early, in-depth look at where our country is headed — a message you won’t want to miss.

For now, check out the "prizes" Gingrich would offer with the $10 billion.

Gingrich Shares Education Ideas: “Education System is Dead”

"Our education system is dead. It’s propped up by unions, bureaucracy and schools of education."

That’s the take of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who will be the keynote speaker at the Indiana Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner on November 6.

At a speech before local and state elected officials earlier this year, Gingrich also offered:

  • An automatic college scholarship for each year that a student graduates early from high school
  • Dual credit programs. In Selma, Alabama, 32 of 65 high school graduates also received associate degrees along with their high school diplomas. Gingrich: "That is the beginning of the future."
  • Abolish state curriculums and get rid of departments of education
  • All states should have an outside review panel look at the costs of higher education
  • The current system will "never fix the pile of federal bureaucracy on top of state bureaucracy on top of regional bureacracy on top of local bureaucracy."

Gingrich is coming to town. You don’t want to miss him.

Gingrich Admits Failed Political Predictions

I spent a most interesting 25 minutes on the telephone this morning with Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House who will be keynoting the Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner on November 6 — two days after this fall’s general election.

After giving a thoughtful and comprehensive response about what he expects to happen on November 4, Gingrich did add that he originally picked Hillary Rodham Clinton to win the Democratic nomination and he thought John McCain was "dead last August." While he downplays his own prognostications, Gingrich offered a number of compelling insights on political and business topics.

The full story from our interview will be in the upcoming BizVoice magazine (available in late August online and in print). But look for a few more excerpts between now and then, both from our discussion and also from hearing Gingrich speak earlier this year to the Council of State Governments in Lexington, Kentucky.

Bottom line: he’s incredibly intelligent, strongly opinionated and you’re not going to want to miss what he has to say in November.


Energy, According to Gingrich

High gasoline prices have generated the greatest public anger since California’s Proposition 13 in 1978. So says Newt Gingrich (as offered in his May 30 speech to the Council of State Governments in Lexington, Kentucky). Many likely disagree with that statement, but Gingrich backs up his claim that "Washington does not have a clue" what to do.

He points out that:

  • The U.S. has three times the Saudi oil reserves in the Rocky Mountains
  • Kentucky has 27% of the world’s coal
  • Brazil is utiliziing two oil fields in the Atlantic, allowing it to be independent of the Middle East
  • The U.S. can’t explore anywhere — the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf of Mexico
  • "What did we do? We passed a bill in Congress to sue OPEC"

Gingrich’s focus on November 6 at the Indiana Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner will undoubtedly be on Washington’s new leaders and solutions that hopefully are better than those currently offered.

Health Care Answers are Elusive

Newt Gingrich founded the Center for Health Transformation shortly after leaving Congress. Solving the health care crisis, however, is the most perplexing challenge out there, he says.

Personal responsibility will have to be increased. "No one but you can keep you healthy. … People should have the right to know the price and quality in health care as in anything else."

What can businesses do? "Tell everyone how much you paid for their health insurance. Tell them this is the extra pay you’re not getting."

Obesity is an under-recognized threat. Children should be weighed at least three times a year to identify outliers who are likely candidates for diabetes and other illnesses.

"A fundamental change in culture is needed with obesity," Gingrich says. "We did it with smoking, seat belts and drunk driving. We need to do it again."

An overall approach he recommends is chronic disease management, with focuses on early detection, wellness and prevention.

Gingrich is coming to Indiana on November 6 as keynote speaker at the Indiana Chamber’s 19th Annual Awards Dinner.