BLUFFTON, S.C. -- Newt Gingrich mercilessly mocked President Obama for his speech delivered on the grounds of Disney World Thursday, suggesting that the decision to go to the land of Mickey Mouse may have been ill-advised.
"I think to close half of Magic Kingdom for the purpose of a White House invitation town hall meeting on a phony main street on behalf of a phony president just strikes me as weird. This is one of those things historians will write about," Gingrich said to a crowd of about 500 people sitting in the theater at Magnolia Hall.
"I want you to think about the president standing with Mickey Mouse on one side and Goofy on the other," Gingrich continued. "And I'll let you decide which Cabinet office he'll likely offer to the two of them while he's there."
But perhaps not anticipating where an earlier pledge to shadow the president may take him, the former House speaker said his campaign will be sending a letter to Disney asking for equal time.
The Republican presidential candidate qualified the request, however, saying he will ask for space at a "public venue outside the park so people don't have to pay to get there to allow me to have a town hall meeting at Disney that is comparable to the president's town hall meeting -- except we won't close half the park, we won't inconvenience all the visitors, and we'd be glad for everyone to come 'cause I'm not afraid to allow people to ask hostile questions and I don't need to screen my town hall meetings."
Speaking at Disney to promote tourism jobs, Obama, said he was finally at a venue that would make his daughters envious.
"That doesn't happen very often. Maybe for once they'll actually ask me at dinner how my day went. And I confess, I am excited to see Mickey. It's always nice to meet a world leader who has bigger ears than me," the president joked.
On a more serious note, the president, who was joined by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce Secretary John Bryson, said his administration is developing a plan to attract more foreign travelers to the U.S.
"We're going to see how we can make it easier for foreign tourists to find basic information about visiting America. And we're going to see how we can attract more tourists to our national parks. We want people visiting not just Epcot Center but the Everglades, too," he said.
Gingrich, who admits that he loves to take his grandkids to Disney World, said if Obama wanted to work on either foreign relations or jobs in America, he may want to reconsider his own policies.
"Look at the XL Keystone pipeline driving Canada into China's hands. This is an administration that is a disaster. I don’t care who he tries to hide behind. He's the president. Going to Disney World doesn't count. He's supposed to run the country," he said.