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Gingrich 'very comfortable' not speaking at GOP convention


ARLINGTON, VA -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday afternoon that he's “very comfortable” not having a speaking role at the Republican National Committee convention next month.

“I personally am very comfortable not giving a speech because I think frankly, there is a whole new generation of candidates out there and people who represent the future,” Gingrich said following a quick event at Belmont TV on behalf of Mitt Romney. “But we haven’t talked about that yet.”

Gingrich -- who addressed reporters in the same city where he suspended his presidential campaign nearly three months ago -- promised continuously during the final weeks of his failed presidential run that he would push for a “conservative platform.”

No official announcement has been made regarding the former House speaker’s role in Tampa. but one spot is sure at the Democratic National Committee Convention in early September: Former President Bill Clinton will address the crowd and Gingrich is pleased.

“I think that will be a terrific opportunity for those of us who served with President Clinton to point out that Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton,” Gingrich said. (That said, Gingrich presided as the speaker of the GOP-controlled House that voted to impeach Clinton during the late 1990s.)

While Monday’s event just outside of Washington, DC in the battleground state of Virginia was billed by the Romney campaign as a “we did build this event,” the questions asked of Gingrich focused on a variety of other topics, including the GOP nominee’s tax returns.

Gingrich, who was a leading voice calling for Mitt Romney to release his tax returns during the primaries, today said “people are not going to take that as a major issue.”

“I’ve tried to raise the issue but frankly, I think the results of the primary also indicated that the American voters are pretty comfortable that this is a guy who has had good accountants, good lawyers, he has obeyed the law,” he said.

Asked to weigh in on the developing dialogue from Romney’s trip overseas – specifically the GOP nominee’s remarks in Jerusalem that drew a link between culture and GDP in Israel and Palestinian territories.

“I think that the whole issue of how do you encourage an economy based on trust and faith, how do you encourage the rule of law when you have Hamas and Hezbollah and Fatah and I think there is a legitimate question to say maybe these are antithetical to being prosperous. I find it fascinating that nobody wants to ask the question, why is Hong Kong prosperous? Why is Singapore prosperous? Why is Israel prosperous? Why can't we apply this same prosperity to Gaza? Why can't we apply this same prosperity to the West Bank?” Gingrich said.