KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Newt Gingrich has called for an end to “children’s hour” when it comes to the country’s security and says that Beltway policy makers are missing the point when it comes to Syria.
“We don't need to mess around tactically having a debate over Syria,” Gingrich said while campaigning in Tennessee. “We need a fundamental conversation about the entire natural of our role in that entire region and we need rethink what we're doing across the whole region.”
Gingrich, the former house speaker, has for months been an outspoken critic of United States policy regarding the Middle East. Recently he has criticized the Obama Administration for apologizing to Afghans when Qurans were burned outside a military post in Afghanistan.
“Arguing about Afghanistan today and Syria tomorrow and Iran next day – this is nonsense,” Gingrich told a crowded ballroom inside the Hilton Knoxville Airport Hotel here. “We have been in a period where, for over 10 years, we have attempted to figure out a strategy for fundamental change in the region and I want to suggest to you that it has not worked.”
Gingrich also touched on another topic he speaks of often – Iran – but took an even sharper tone than normal.
“We should indicate calmly and decisively that any act to close the Straight of Hormuz will be considered an act of war and we will eliminate the government of Iran,” Gingrich said. “None of this limited rules of engagement, take-two-lawyers-into-combat-with-you to make sure you do it right. You mess with the Strait of Hormuz, you won't be a government anymore. But – unless they're utterly insane, that would probably stop them.”
But with just one day before the all-important Super Tuesday contests, Gingrich shot back during his afternoon speeches at comments his rival, Mitt Romney, made Sunday.
“Gov. Romney yesterday said I was pandering” on gas prices, the Speaker told the Kingsport/East Tennessee Republican Women’s Club in Kingsport. “Well, let me say up front, of course nobody knows you'd be at $2.50 [per gallon of gas], but there's this thing called setting goals.”
“It's not called pandering, it's called leadership,” Gingrich said about his proposal to lower gas prices.
The Speaker, who needs a big win on Super Tuesday in his home state of Georgia, also added he is confident going into the state's primary tomorrow.
“Looks now like in Georgia we will carry the state by four or five times the margin that Romney had in Michigan,” he said. “So that feels pretty good.”