NASHUA, N.H. -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said on Monday that he thinks the collapse of the congressional super committee “is good for America,” and that the country’s debt problem can be solved through the regular work of Congress.
The once-polarizing former speaker of the House also maintained that he would resolve the decades-long problem of political gridlock in Congress.
“I think it’s important to understand it’s not that Washington is inherently gridlocked, it’s that the current players behaving in the current way are inherently gridlocked,” Gingrich said. “It’s partly the president’s fault, it’s partly the Congress’s fault. But it’s a mess.”
Gingrich did not mention that the government shutdown that took place on his watch as speaker in the mid-1990s came after he and President Clinton failed to resolve a budget impasse.
Speaking to a group of about 100 students and supporters at Rivier College, a Catholic institution, Gingrich said that the super committee, charged with resolving the partisan deadlock over ways to reduce the nation’s crippling debt, was destined to fail “because I think it’s exactly wrong.”
The right way to andle the situation, Gingrich said, would be for both parties to “hold a press conference this week and say, ‘We’re going to ask through regular order every subcommittee to find savings. We’re going to do it out in the open. We’re going to it with expert testimony.’ ”
Gingrich seemed buoyant after a new USA Today/Gallup poll showed him in a statistical tie for the lead in the GOP primary race with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He said he believed he would be by far the better debater if he wins the right to face off against Obama next year.
“I think, first, is the scale of the solutions that I propose, which are much bigger and much more comprehensive than any other person running for office,” said Gingrich, with his characteristic brimming self-confidence. “The second is the fact that I’ve actually done it. I’m the only person running this year who’s actually helped create a national majority twice … balanced the budget for four straight years at the federal level. Nobody else running comes anywhere close to that.”