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Gingrich 'Very Comfortable' Not Speaking at Convention Gingrich 'Very Comfortable' Not Speaking at Convention

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Conventions 2012 / Conventions

Gingrich 'Very Comfortable' Not Speaking at Convention

photo of Alexandra  Jaffe
August 1, 2012

Newt Gingrich likely won't speak at the Republican National Convention later this month, but the former GOP presidential candidate doesn't mind -- and he still expect to play a role, by organizing a series of training workshops on "major issues."

"I'm very comfortable not speaking in the evening convention," he said on CNN on Wednesday. "We're working on a project right now to have two hours a day every day for training workshops on major issues, including energy, economic growth, and i think that I'll probably play the lead role in putting together."

This is Gingrich's first expansion on what his role might be at the convention, though he's said previously he wouldn't mind having a speaking slot. Spokespeople for both Gingrich and the convention were not aware of any plans to hold workshops, but said it was possible.

Gingrich explained that he'd like to leave more room for "a new generation of Republicans" to rise at this year's convention, which is part of the reason he's okay with not speaking.

"We have so many bright young new republicans around the country that I think we really want to make sure that we maximize their appearance in prime time. and show people what a diverse and what a broad party we are," he said.

Gingrich has supported Mitt Romney, and he defended Romney's performance overseas on CNN, particulatly his controversial comments on culture.

Romney said in a speech in Jerusalem and at one point appeared to connect Israeli culture with economic progress and gross domestic product, making a comparison to less prosperous areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. A top Palestinian official called the comments racist and Romney has addressed the issue several times since to clarify his remarks.

Gingrich said Romney made no mistake in pointing out the cultural differences between the two nations, and went on to assert that Romney had sparked an important debate.

"I think the comments about culture were right, and I wish that the elites of this country had the courage to look at the United Nations refugee camps and realize what an anti-human disaster those refugee camps are, how much they have been breeders of terrorism, how fundamentally wrong their design is, and how much we have done a disservice to the people of Palestine, to the Palestinians, to allow them to be subjected to that kind of government-run, totally inappropriate structure," he said.

Gingrich added that he hopes, on this debate, Romney will "stick to his guns."

"Let's have that argument," he said.

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