Almost a full decade after 9/11, and despite two prolonged wars, billions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the United States is no safer than it was before 9/11. That is according to former U.S. House Speaker and current presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. He was the guest speaker Monday at The Family Leader’s “Presidential Lecture Series” in Pella.
A crowd of 60 listened to Gingrich as he showcased his wide range of knowledge on American history, the Constitution and faith. During the Q&A session, Gingrich ripped Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for his naïve view of the dangers America still faces.
“He is living in La La Land,” Gingrich said. “If he thinks we’re winning over Al Qaeda, what I’m really frightened of is he might actually believe it. 10 years after 9/11, we’re in worse shape today than we were 10 years ago.”
Following his speech, TheIowaRepublican.com asked Gingrich to explain why he believed America is worse off. “Go back and read Bush’s speeches,” he said. “The North Koreans are still building nuclear missiles. We have evidence from Pakistan as recent as last week that they’re selling them. The Pakistanis are still building nuclear weapons and we have evidence from the Bin Laden case that a large part of the Pakistani government is anti-American.”
Gingrich also believes domestic terrorism is a growing and serious problem. “Look at the number of young Americans that have been indicted over the last two years for plotting terrorism in the United States,” Gingrich said. “This idea that Al Qaeda is on the verge of strategic defeat is a fantasy. And it’s There is a movement worldwide that wants to defeat the United States and destroy Israel. They’re quite open about it. The Iranians are much closer to nuclear weapons than they were 10 years ago. You show me where we’re better off than we were 10 years ago.”
The former House Speaker also ripped into what he called the “triviality” of the news media. Gingrich ripped CNN’s recent New Hampshire presidential debate. “We were asked truly stupid questions,” Gingrich said. “I was asked did I prefer ‘American Idol’ or ‘Dancing with the Stars’. And what I should have said is, ‘What a pathetic waste of an opportunity to have a serious question.” The crowd loudly applauded Gingrich for that statement.
Although his presidential campaign is floundering, Gingrich remains the “idea man” of the Republican Party. No candidate can match his vast array of knowledge on domestic and foreign policy. However, Gingrich occasionally displayed why his campaign has been so troubled. Gingrich’s staff staged a mass exodus because they did not feel he was serious enough about campaigning. Gingrich spent more time Monday pitching his books and films than he did his presidential aspirations. During the 40 minute speech, he made six different mentions of books he had authored as well as two films he produced.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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