Dalton, Ga. - There was a new song blaring from the speakers at Newt Gingrich's rally Tuesday morning: Rick Derringer's "Real American," the theme song from Hulk Hogan's iconic World Wrestling Federation days. "I am a real American, fight for what's right, fight for your life!" go the lyrics.
Newt Gingrich is fighting for his political life in his home state of Georgia, where he needs to win 50 percent of the vote on primary day to secure all 76 delegates and catch up in the delegate race. He emphasized to the crowd of over 500 people that he is running on a platform of "really big ideas" in a country with a tradition of visionaries like Abraham Lincoln and his pledge to build a transcontinental rail road and the Wright Brothers who dreamed of human flight.
Gingrich portrayed rival Mitt Romney as a candidate with a small vision. "I was describing the other week some ideas, and Romney said, ‘You know, boy, if somebody came to him with ideas like that he would have fired him," he recounted. "Someone in Chattanooga said to me this morning, he said you know, Romney was the kind of guy who would fire Christopher Columbus," Gingrich said to widespread laughter in the audience.
Gingrich continued, "While the cynics, and the quote, realists, ridicule vision. I believe in the Bible: Without vision the people perish."
Red gasoline cans with Newt stickers were placed at the guest sign-in table to collect small donations, and the candidate, who is focusing his campaign on a pledge to bring the price of gas to $2.50 a gallon, blasted the critics who call his energy proposal a "fantasy."
"I'm always reminded as a historian that these are people who have no memory. I think they create professional amnesia. They operate in a time free world where they learn nothing," he said, saying the price of gas was $1.13 when he was Speaker and $1.89 when President Obama was sworn in. Gingrich said he had consulted "experts I trust" that determined the average price needed to be between $2 and $2.50 to sustain the capital investment necessary to access domestic oil that is trapped in deep oil formations.
Gingrich joked that someone came up to him in Nashville telling him about Obama's "9-9-9" plan - "$9.99 a gallon for gasoline."
"Maybe there is in fact an Obama 9-9-9 plan we haven't heard about before," he said, telling the crowd he has been meaning to share the anecdote with Herman Cain, who has joined him on the trail.
Gingrich has been hitting President Obama about the apology letter he wrote to President Karzai amid riots protesting the burning of Korans on a military base, and added new criticism of the administration's handling of Islamic extremism.
"The US Army burned bibles in 2009 because of a policy of not having religious documents for missionary purposes overseas. Now, no Christians rioted. No Christians demanded an apology. No one was killed. We just tolerated the anti-religious bigotry of the American government," Gingrich said.
"Mr. President you owe the American people, and you owe the young men and women in uniform an apology for your failure to defend America. This is an administration so one-sidedly pro-Islamic that it refuses to tell the truth about people who are trying to kill us." The audience clapped in agreement.