ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday a vote for Democrats was a vote for “the food stamp party” as he forecast a Republican takeover in the House much like the one he orchestrated 16 years ago.
The architect of the 1994 “Contract with America” told The Associated Press he was pleased with the GOP’s latest blueprint, the “Pledge to America,” which he said “is a very helpful step in the right direction” that presents voters with a clear choice.
“Your choice on Election Day is going to be between the food stamp party, which has killed jobs, put more Americans on food stamps than ever before, and a paycheck Republican Party dedicated to creating new jobs,” said Gingrich, who is considering a 2012 presidential bid.
Republican congressional leaders rolled out their mid-term agenda last month, full of rhetorical flourishes modeled on the Declaration of Independence and Gingrich’s contract. It calls for extending all of President Bush’s tax cuts, including the tax cut for top-earners, and cutting nonessential federal government spending to 2008 levels.
The “Contract with America” helped Republicans recapture both the House and Senate in the 1994 midterm elections.
Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, took aim at Gingrich’s comments, saying he had “either lost his mind, has been living under a rock or is simply and knowingly lying.”
“The entire world knows it was the failed policies of George W. Bush and Republicans that nearly sank America into a second Great Depression. Newt Gingrich’s fifteen minutes of fame are up. Exit stage left, please,” Woodhouse said.
Gingrich said Republicans must reach out to members of the tea party movement, who he said were “bringing us a whole other generation of energy,” despite the losses of some well-known Republican officeholders in primaries.
He forecast victory for Rick Scott in Florida’s race for governor, saying he was fully behind him despite being sad to see his friend and former House colleague Bill McCollum, whom he endorsed, lose the GOP primary.
Scott headed Columbia/HCA while the hospital chain committed fraud that later resulted in the biggest fine in Medicare history, $1.7 billion. But Gingrich said the issue raised no concerns about the candidate, because “none of that related to him.”
Gingrich, who represented Georgia in the House from 1979 to 1999, was in Orlando speaking about Medicare fraud at a gathering of AARP members.