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REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, R-MINN., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am Michele Bachmann. I am running for the president of the United States.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, she just could be Mitt Romney’s Grand Old Party pooper, because Michele Bachmann now in, and next to Mitt, now even.
But while these two battle it out in the media, you might want to pay attention to the guy all but written off by the media, but still hanging tough in the polls. I’m speaking about the speaker, the man who led a Republican revolution in the 1990s and might be doing something just as remarkable right now, namely, coming back, because don’t look now, but former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is far from dead, polling fourth in the latest Iowa caucus poll.
Up next in our "Help Wanted" series: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
Newt, good to have you.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you.
CAVUTO: I looked at that poll, Newt. I did a double-take. I was surprised. Were you?
Well, first of all, I think that Michele has done a great job. And as a native Iowan, she has a good base out there.
CAVUTO: I was talking about you. I didn’t expect you to be that high up.
GINGRICH: Well -- but I want to start with her. But I want to start with her because she’s the story today, and she’s earned it.
In my case, we have had a steady base of support all through the last month of the media attacks. And the fact is I was just in Indianola on Saturday with Tea Party, talking to people about ideas about creating jobs, cutting taxes, repealing the Dodd-Frank bill and the other bills that are over-regulating America.
And I found a very good response. I’ll be back, I think, 16 days in the next two months in Iowa, campaigning, listening to people, and talking about a series of issues that are a little different, I think, than you normally get in traditional politics, because I think, with 14 million unemployed, and with housing in a depression-level collapse, deeper fall in price than during the Great Depression, you really need very bold, very new policies.
And that’s the reason I am running. I think it’s possible to turn this country around dramatically, to have an American energy policy, to have the kind of really dramatic tax changes that would lead to millions of new jobs, and, in the process, to bring back housing, so the people who currently don’t have mortgages that are worth less than their house could, once again, have a house that’s worth something by seeing the general economy rise dramatically.
CAVUTO: You know you make a compelling case on a number of the issues, but what gets obviously the attention of the media is all these people who resigned en masse from your camp, and they start raising questions about your wife: Is she too influential? Are you kowtowing to her?
I mean, it -- it reads like a soap opera. Is it?
GINGRICH: Well, look, I think it’s, frankly, strange that, with 14 million unemployed, when you make a speech that outlines why we should have zero capital gains tax, so people would invest hundreds of billions in the U.S., why we would have a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate, so that we would unlock a trillion dollars in profits kept overseas, and actually get companies like General Electric to pay taxes, instead of paying tax lawyers, why we ought to eliminate the death tax, so that family firms would focus on job creation, rather than on avoiding tax policy, and, finally, why we ought to have 100 percent expensing, so every new piece of equipment in America, including farmers, would be able to write it off in one year, so we’d have the most modern, most productive, most effective workers in the world -- now, I would think, with 14 million unemployed, those would be pretty good topics for the news media to cover.
But it’s very difficult to get past the gossip and get into substance. And I’m determined to keep campaigning and to keep focusing on substance, and, frankly...
CAVUTO: No doubt. No doubt. But, Newt, you know how it goes. They judge a candidate’s worthiness for that high office with how he handles not only his campaign, but maybe his personal life. And that’s not necessarily fair or right. It just is.
So, I guess what I’m trying to ask you is, when they say they can’t reach you -- they like and admire your position on the issues, you’re very, very smart, you know history inside and out, you’re an encyclopedia and all that -- a lot of them who have since left said, they couldn’t get through to you, they couldn’t reach you, they -- they felt you were being dictated to by your wife.
Any of that true?
GINGRICH: Let me just say flatly, I run my own campaign. I developed the Contract with America when no consultant in Washington believed in it. We balanced the federal budget when no consultant in Washington thought it was possible.
I helped Ronald Reagan in 1980 when 13 senior staff left on the morning of the New Hampshire primary and over 100 staff were laid off two weeks later.
I think the turmoil is, frankly, irrelevant. What matters is, with 14 million unemployed, with the national capital out of control, with a $2 trillion deficit, can you find somebody who knows what the challenges are, has real solutions, and has a track record of actually getting it done?
When you look at welfare reform, the largest entitlement reform in our lifetime, it was something I helped get done as speaker of the House. So, I’m prepared to talk about substance longer, I hope, than the news media can talk about gossip. And I believe, over time, the American people...
CAVUTO: But it’s more than just gossip, right, Newt?
CAVUTO: I mean, when you -- when your staff resigns to the degree it has and your top advisers leave to the degree they have...
GINGRICH: No. That’s greatly exaggerated.
CAVUTO: Well, it might be exaggerated. I’m just saying, the perception -- maybe allay people of their concerns -- is that you are rudderless right now. Are you?
GINGRICH: You know -- you know, nobody in Indianola at the Tea Party gathering, not a single person, asked me the kind of questions that dominate the elite media.
And that’s been true everywhere I have been. When you talk with Americans who are worried about the economy, they don’t worry much about this stuff. They want to know, do you have solutions that will work? They want to know, do you understand the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? Do you want to get back to constitutional government?
Now, those ideas don’t seem to resonate very well in some of the talking heads, but, boy, do they resonate well with the American people.
CAVUTO: Newt, I got to tell you, I don’t think I am the elite media, and I don’t think I’m just a talking head here.