Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich conducted the first campaign blitz of his old Georgia stomping grounds Saturday, and Patch was with him at every stop.
Accompanied by Herman Cain, a fellow Georgian who dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Gingrich, the former House speaker swept through Forsyth, Gwinnett and Cobb counties during the day to rally support for the Republican presidential primary March 6.
In addition, his wife, Callista, rallied supporters in Buckhead.
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The highlights of the day:
- At South Forsyth High School in the Cumming area, the county Republican Party had hundreds more people arrive than could fit inside the 400-seat theater. The Forsyth gathering’s official purpose was to choose precinct delegates for the county Republican convention, but it became a Gingrich rally.
Cain fired up the crowd by saying Gingrich’s economic plan is the closest thing left in the campaign to his own 9-9-9 tax plan.
Gingrich won support with his call for tapping American oil reserves to drive the price of gasoline down to $2.50 a gallon.
"If he says it, I believe it,” Forsyth County Commission Chairman Jim Boff said.
- In Suwanee at Collins Hill High School, Gingrich delivered his stump speech to about 400 people, calling Barack Obama “the most dangerous president in modern American history.”
Following his own advice that Republican candidates should focus on their one real opponent, Obama, Gingrich accused the president of bigotry and dishonesty and said he puts America at risk.
The Gingrich rally came after Rep. Ron Paul beat the former House speaker in a Gwinnett County Republican Party straw poll at the school. Paul got 113 votes, Gingrich 73, former Sen. Rick Santorum 60 and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 25.
- At a Young Republican Club gathering in Buckhead at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Callista Gingrich talked about her husband’s belief in American exceptionalism and said he would strive to free up inventors and innovators to continue an American tradition running from Benjamin Franklin through Steve Jobs.
- In East Cobb at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest, Gingrich emphasized the importance of religious liberty. He drew a packed crowd, though many doubted whether his campaign could win Georgia on March 6, let alone the Republican nomination and the presidency.
Still, his Paulding County campaign co-chair, Linda King of Dallas, said Gingrich has the right message to take on Obama in the fall. “I just think he’s the best one for the nomination. I think in debates with Obama he’s got him packed right down.”
Georgia is the biggest prize on March 6 with 76 delegates up for grabs. Also voting on Super Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, are Ohio with 63 delegates, Tennessee (55), Virginia (48, with neither Gingrich nor Santorum on the ballot), Oklahoma (40), Massachusetts (38) and Vermont (17), while Idaho (32), North Dakota (28) and Alaska (24) will choose delegates in caucuses that day.