Newt Gingrich was in Des Moines on Tuesday to sign copies of his new novel, Valley Forge. The event was held at the Boarders bookstore in West Des Moines. Gingrich drew an impressive crowd of more than 100 people for the afternoon event.
Valley Forge is a historical novel that Gingrich wrote with William R. Forstchen. The book centers on George Washington and Continental Army’s struggles during the winter of 1777. The book is his eighth fictionalized history book.
Gingrich is the first potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates to visit Iowa since the November 2nd elections. While Gingrich is the first to step foot in Iowa, two potential heavyweights, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, will be in the state in the next ten days.
Gingrich took questions following his remarks about the book. All of the questions that the audience asked were limited to the book. However, that didn’t prevent him from making some political remarks.
Gingrich told the audience that the country has to move from rejection of the left, to the replacement of the left. He said that there are numerous examples of the American public rejecting the left, but they have repeatedly failed at replacing the left. The former Speaker also believes that Americans need to understand that freedom is hard. He then used Washington’s winter in Valley Forge as a metaphor for how difficult the cause of freedom can be.
While the event was designed to promote his new book, there were plenty of people who attended who hope Gingrich runs for president in 2012. One such person was Keith Hunter, a social conservative who has been involved with groups like the Iowa Christian Alliance in the past. Hunter told TheIowaRepublican.com that he’s a big fan of Gingrich, and would like the opportunity to introduce him to other social conservatives who make up a major percentage of caucus attendees.
Another attendee told TheIowaRepublican.com that as she was getting her book signed by Gingrich she told him she looks forward to seeing him as an official presidential candidate. She said that when she had done this before, he would temper his presidential aspirations, but this time Gringrich told the lady, “thank you.”
One of Gingrich’s former colleagues, Congressman Greg Ganske, also came to see him while in Des Moines. The two shared a cup of coffee before Gingrich departed for his next event in Ames. Ganske told TheIowaRepublican.com that he would like to see Gingrich as a presidential candidate as well.
Gingrich has been a frequent visitor to Iowa over the past decade. In addition to events like the one on Tuesday, he has headlined events for the Republican Party of Iowa, attended various events for political candidates, and held activist workshops across the state. His affection for and understanding of Iowa is definitely an asset that no other candidate will have.
Gingrich also weighed in on the much talked about judicial retention elections. When asked what Iowans should do with the four Supreme Court Justices who remain on the bench, Gingrich didn’t flinch when he said that they should have the decency to step down.
“I don’t think anybody in this state believes the other four justices would have survived,” Gingrich said. “If they have any sense of integrity about protecting the courts, they’ll step down. If the bar association has any sense of integrity, they will deliberately not pick radical judges and will not make recommendations to the new governor. If Culver has any sense of integrity, he will not appoint anyone. I mean, for a defeated governor to try to replace defeated judges by repudiating the values of the people of Iowa strikes me as the absolutely opposite of a free society,” he concluded.
After the event, TheIowaRepublican.com asked Gingrich if he considers himself to be a politician or an author. Gingrich smiled and said, “I like to think of myself as a storyteller.”
Gingrich’s expansive knowledge of issues, willingness to address controversial issues like the retention elections in Iowa, and his deep appreciation of the history of America’s founding makes him a unique and formidable candidate in the 2012 caucuses. Being a good storyteller doesn’t hurt either.
Below is video of Gingrich talking to reporters.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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