MANASSAS, Va., Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took his battle for the Republican presidential nomination directly to 63 of the nation’s most influential conservative leaders during a two-and-a-half hour meeting of uncommitted conservatives hosted by ConservativeHQ.com Chairman Richard Viguerie and Diana Banister of Shirley and Banister Public Affairs.
This meeting, conducted at the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, was one of the few opportunities conservative leaders will have to gather before the early primaries.
Gingrich’s formal remarks began with a brief commentary on the state of the country, a reminder of how critical this election is to the future of the United States and the posterity of those in the room, and an observation that, “If Obama is re-elected, America will be a very, very different country from the one we grew-up in.”
Interrupted numerous times by applause, Gingrich concluded his remarks by asking the audience “to be with me–not merely for me–because, if you are merely for me, that implies you can vote and go home and expect me to fix things, but for this level of change to occur, I need you working with me every step of the way to make it happen.”
Viguerie led the questioning by noting that “personnel is policy” and that in the 1970s, Ronald Reagannever went any place without being surrounded by the leaders and activists of the conservative movement. This gave conservatives confidence that, if Reagan were elected, conservatives would follow him into the White House and Cabinet.
When Viguerie asked Gingrich for a similar commitment, the former Speaker replied, “Mine is going to be a conservative administration…This is very tough work that I will be asking people to undertake. I’m only going to appoint people who are willing to come in to implement our agenda.”
Gingrich concluded his remarks to the uncommitted conservatives to a sustained standing ovation by saying that he expected his opponents in both the primary and the general election to go negative, but that he intended to stay positive and to run a campaign of conservative ideas and that he trusted the American people, faced with the choice between food stamps and paychecks, to choose ideas over slander and character assassination every time.