Gingrich promises updated ‘Contract with America’

Former Speaker of the House and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Monday that he would be announcing a 21st century Contract With America during a speech next week in Iowa.

The Des Moines Register reports that Gingrich promised a proposal 10 times deeper and more compressive than 1994, when the GOP leaders original platform propelled Republicans to retake the House for the first time in 40 years.

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“One of the major themes of next year if I’m the nominee is going to be that [President] Obama is the best food stamps president in American history and I’ll be the best paycheck president in American history,” Gingrich said at a campaign stop in Iowa. “And I will be happy to debate Obama on any university campus in the country, including Harvard and Berkeley. I’m not afraid to debate this president anywhere, any time, on any topic.”

The former Speaker said he will release the proposal Sept. 29 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Gingrich has struggled to gain traction in the Republican race, hovering in the single digits in most polls. But the candidate has repeatedly cited late-surging candidates such as John McCain and Ronald Reagan, and believes that his new platform might be the push he needs.

Channeling the Contract with America might not be a poor electoral strategy. In addition to being Gingrich’s greatest political achievement, the Tea Party co-opted the name to write a “Contract from America” in 2010 for congressional candidates to sign on to. Conservative Republicans made some of their largest gains in decades during the 2010 elections.

Gingrich has set high expectations for the plan, saying his ideas will be “very big, and they’re exactly what Abraham Lincoln would have campaigned on.”

He also acknowledged that “the truth is, while we changed the system some … we didn’t fundamentally change the underlying system.”

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