September 30, 2011 in Nation/World

Gingrich unveils his new ‘contract’

Seema Mehta Los Angeles Times
 
Associated Press photo

Newt Gingrich talks at a town hall meeting Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.
(Full-size photo)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Newt Gingrich unveiled a new “Contract With America” on Thursday, a set of proposals he said would lay the groundwork for righting America’s fortunes were he to become president.

Gingrich was a co-author of the original Contract with America in 1994, which helped Republicans gain a majority in the U.S. House Representatives for the first time in decades and ushered Gingrich into the speakership. That document contained specific legislation that Republicans promised to bring to the floor if they took control of the House.

The 23-page document Gingrich unveiled Thursday was far less specific. Gingrich said the plan was a starting point, and that he would seek input from Americans before revealing more specific proposals in September 2012.

“The scale of change I am suggesting is so enormous I couldn’t possibly as a single leader show you everything I’m going to do, so this is the beginning of the conversation,” he said.

The new contract contains four sections – a set of 10 legislative reforms; a pledge to sign as many as 200 executive orders on the first day in office; a training program about limited government for appointees and transition team members; and using social media to involve citizens in pushing the reforms.

The legislative reforms include repealing the federal health care plan and replacing it with a market-based program that includes tax breaks for those who purchase insurance; reducing the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent; eliminating capital gains and estate taxes and allowing residents to file under a simplified flat tax option. He would also repeal financial regulations and allow the partial privatizing of Social Security and Medicare.

Gingrich’s campaign foundered over the summer, finding itself with debt and a mass exodus of campaign staff. He has received strong marks for his performance in recent debates, but he faces a key test in coming weeks over his finances. Today is the deadline for third-quarter fundraising, and the subsequent reporting will be used to gauge the health of the campaigns.

Gingrich objected Thursday when asked how his fundraising was going.

“See, I knew you couldn’t resist. I’m not going to answer you,” Gingrich told a reporter who posed the question. “You should really go home and think about why you would even ask that today.”


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