Newt Gingrich CPAC: Former House Speaker Addresses Annual Conservative Conference

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13:  Newt Gingrich attends TIME's Person of the Year panel on November 13, 2012 in New York City.  (P
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Newt Gingrich attends TIME's Person of the Year panel on November 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

Newt Gingrich, here to shill for his documentary films, got a 10-minute speaking slot this morning -- and was the first speaker that it was hard to believe would restrain himself to the allotted time.

Gingrich wound up the crowd, by criticizing the Republican establishment and the "Republican consulting class" for being out of step with the current political dynamic, suggesting that "vast" changes were required. "We have to disenthrall ourselves of the establishment's anti-idea approach," Gingrich said. He called upon the crowd to support the "pioneers of the future."

“You’re going to hear a false attack that we don’t need new ideas,” said Gingrich. “Let me draw a distinction. We don’t need new principles ... we do need new ideas" to put those principles into practice.

Gingrich gave a pretty strange demonstration of what he meant, using props. Apparently, the GOP establishment is "trapped in the age of candles" and the Obama administration wants to "redistribute the candle wealth," and the GOP should be Thomas Edison, cold inventin' the lightbulb. Gingrich went on to say that he's been attempting to convince GOP legislators to embrace this "idea-driven" vision, but they remain "blind to it." (Maybe because the whole "candle vs. lightbulb" story needs some tweaks? I'm just trying to be helpful.)

Gingrich did speak warmly of some current members of the GOP -- including Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But the "dominant wing" of the party, he insisted, was "mired in stupidity."

Gingrich also, surprisingly, praised former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's book, "Citizenville," minutes after slagging San Francisco for their "candle vs. lightbulb" inadequacies. But Gingrich enjoyed Newsom's book for its concentration on citizen-driven solutions to civic challenges.

There were other book recommendations to come. Irving Kristol tomes from the 1970s figured prominently.

Gingrich closed by reaffirming his anti-abortion beliefs, and expressed his excitement for the way newly elected Pope Francis would challenge the left on abortion, and the right on poverty.

The issue of any future tax havens on the moon was tabled indefinitely.

[NOTE: This article original misidentified Rand Paul, and has since been corrected.]



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