Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came out swinging at President Obama in his first TV interview after announcing his candidacy for president, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Obama “should be ashamed of himself” for distorting Republican positions.
“This is not about one person in the Oval Office. This is about millions of Americans deciding that together we can win the future with the right policies leading to the right outcomes,” Gingrich said. “And then we have to ... win the argument that President Obama has the wrong policies, and they lead to the wrong outcomes.”
Gingrich had fueled months of speculation about his intentions by holding off on an official announcement, but earlier Wednesday he spread the word by Twitter and Facebook that he was in the race for the Republican nomination, entering what expects to ultimately be a packed field of party hopefuls.
Gingrich argued that Republicans need to aim even higher and try to add 12 seats in the Senate and about 40 in the House.
“If we had a contract in the fall of 2012, and if we had an election on core principles and we won that election, then we would have a mandate starting on the very first day with executive orders,” he told Fox News.
His first executive order would be to eliminate Obama’s so-called policy “czars,” but his greater goal would be to balance the budget over several years by growing the economy.
Obama, on the other hand, has been using “dishonest scare tactics” in describing Rep. Paul Ryan’s Republican budget and other policy disagreements, Gingrich said.
Gingrich brings considerable name recognition to the Republican field, a quality candidates like former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have been working furiously to attain.
However, a new Gallup poll suggests that although many Americans know who Gingrich is, he still has some work to do if he's going to get their vote. Among Republicans 84 percent recognize his name. But Gingrich's Positive Intensity Score is only 11, below this week's average of 13 for all Republican contenders.
Mike Huckabee receives the highest Positive Intensity Score at 24, which is the percentage of those with a strongly favorable opinion minus the percentage of those with a strongly unfavorable opinion. Donald Trump, with 98 percent name recognition, has the lowest Positive Intensity Score of any of the 13 candidates polled by Gallup this week at zero.
The ostensible advantage Gingrich has on both Huckabee and Trump is that he's decided and announced that he's running.
Gingrich will spend next week in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa.
Fox News' Jake Gibson contributed to this report.