Following last week's jobs numbers that further cemented the belief that the U.S. economy is on the mend, Newt Gingrich shifted his criticism of the current Administration from economic issues to those of foreign policy, calling the U.S. mission in Afghanistan "not doable."
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, the GOP candidate said that there is "something profoundly wrong with the way we're approaching the whole Middle Eastern region."
Gingrich called for an investigation into today's killing of roughly 15 civilians by a U.S. officer (some reports say a group of U.S. soldiers) stationed in Afghanistan, which the U.S. military has already initiated.
Gingrich also said that Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai should apologize to the U.S. for the killing of six American soldiers in recent weeks in response to Koran burnings at a U.S. base. Though he didn't outright call for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, Gingrich did say that the U.S. is going to "have to back off that region."
"I reached a conclusion, frankly, about the entire region that is much more pessimistic than the official position," he said, adding that "this is a region that is going to be very hard to deal with in the near future." Speaking later on CBS' Face the Nation, Gingrich added that U.S. involvement in countries like Afghanistan is "probably counterproductive" and that "we're not prepared to be ruthless enough" to effect change in the region.
Gingrich did have harsh words for Obama on one thing that affects the economy, however: high gas prices. Touting his campaign promise of restoring gas to prices of $2.50 a gallon, Gingrich said he'd also approve a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and open up waters off the Gulf of Mexico to drilling.
On CBS' Face the Nation, Gingrich tied the energy issue back to the conflict in the Middle East, arguing for energy independence from countries there not just to bring down gas prices but also to make it easier for the U.S. to withdraw involvement there.
"We need to decide we're going to produce our own oil and we're going to frankly be capable of surviving without having to define or dominate the region, because I don't think we have the will power or the capacity to do the things you have to do to fundamentally change the region," he said.