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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

Gingrich, Romney Outline Early Actions as President

In separate "Hannity" appearances, candidates also get in some attacks.

Republican presidential candidates former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shake hands at the Republican presidential candidates debate at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

photo of Sarah Huisenga
January 30, 2012

In their final national TV appearances before Tuesday's Florida primary, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney on Monday outlined their theoretical agendas during the first month at the White House while getting in a few digs at each other.

Appearing separately on Fox News' Hannity, both men said one of their first acts would be to repeal President Obama's health care law. Gingrich said he also would ask Congress to remain in session before his swearing-in to repeal the Dodd-Frank overhaul of the financial services industry and the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance law.

"My request is to have all three repeals ready, so the day I'm sworn in I can sign them all that day. That is a real start," he said.

 

Gingrich also said he would issue a series of executive orders to abolish the positions of all White House  domestic policy "czars" as well as reinstate the  so-called "Mexico City policy"  requiring non-governmental organizations that receive federal money to refrain from promoting abortions abroad as a means of family planning. And he said he would have the State Department relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to satisfy American Jewish voters.

In addition to Obama's health care law, Romney said he would give licenses to companies that have been approved for drilling for gas and oil on federal lands as well as issue an executive order saying that unions are not required to work on government projects.

He also said he would label China as a currency manipulator, lower tax rates for people making under $200,000 and prevent Iran's progress toward developing a nuclear weapon.

Gingrich gave no indication that he would let a dismal showing in Florida -- where Romney has opened a sizeable advantage in polls -- affect his determination to wage an aggressive race all the way to the GOP convention.

His spokesman R.C. Hammond told CBS News/National Journal on Monday that the campaign would focus on states that proportionally allocate delegates. That would mean the campaign would shift its focus away from four upcoming "winner-take-all" states -- Arizona, Delaware, New Jersey and Utah -- and the District of Columbia.

However, Hammond subsequently issued a statement indicating that the campaign was relinquishing nothing: "Our capacity to tell the truth about Romney's record is limitless.  We will challenge Mitt Romney and his lies in every state in every contest."

Gingrich said on Hannity that he remains convinced he is the conservative candidate best equipped to challenge Obama. "Nominating a moderate will not work if you are trying to beat Barack Obama," he said.

The former House speaker got some support on the program from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who spoke favorably of Gingrich's combative and anti-GOP establishment approach.

"We need a big dog who will bite when they rattle our cage ... We need a big dog who is passionate about not embracing the status quo but shaking it up," she said.

Palin, however, also had some kind words for Romney as well as Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Of Romney, she said: "I think he's surrounded by hard-core conservatives who understand that government is not the solution. He would be directed into more of the fiscally conservative positions and socially conservative positions I think the majority of our nation would respect and expect."

Romney, for his part, remained dismissive of Gingrich's criticisms of his record. "You listen to Speaker Gingrich do all these attacks on me; no one believes that. It's been so incredible that people just don't listen anymore," he said.

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