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Romney and Gingrich Debate Their Contributions to Conservatism

9:01 AM, Jan 24, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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In an interesting portion of last night’s Republican presidential debate, moderator Brian Williams asked, “Governor Romney…what have you done to further the cause of conservatism as a Republican leader?” Romney replied, 

Gingrich Romney

“Well, number one, I’ve raised a family.  With my wife we’ve raised five wonderful sons, and we have 16 wonderful grandkids. 

“Number two, I’ve worked in the private sector.  The idea that somehow everything important to conservatism or for America happens in government, is simply wrong.  I’ve been in the private sector.  I worked in one business that was in trouble and helped turn it around, another I started.  And as part of that, we were able to create thousands and thousands of jobs.

“And then I took an opportunity to become governor of a state that was slightly Democrat.  About 85 percent of my legislature was Democrat.  And I worked very hard to promote a conservative agenda.  We cut taxes 19 times.  We balanced the budget every year, put in place a ‘rainy day’ fund of over $2 billion by the time I left.  We were also successful in having English immersion in our schools, driving our schools to be number one in the nation.

“That kind of a conservative model in a state like this was a model in many respects that other states could look at and say, okay, conservative principles work.  We were able to reach across the aisle to fight for conservative principles, and now I’m taking that to a presidential campaign, wrote a book about those principles that lay out why I believe they’re right for America.”

Gingrich then said,

“I went to a Goldwater organizing session in 1964.  I met with Ronald Reagan for the first time in 1974.  I worked with Jack Kemp and Art Laffer and others to develop supply-side economics in the late ’70s.  I helped Governor Reagan become President Reagan.  I helped pass the Reagan economic program, and I worked with the National Security Council on issues involving the collapse of the Soviet Empire.  I then came back, organized a group called GOPAC, spent 16 years building a majority in the House for the first time since 1954, the first reelected majority since 1928, developed the Conservative Opportunity Society, talked about big ideas, big solutions. 

“So I think it’s fair to say I spent most of my lifetime trying to develop a conservative movement across this country that relates directly to what we have to do.  And I think only a genuine conservative who’s in a position to debate Obama and to show how wide the gap is between Obama’s policies and conservatism can in fact win, because he’s gonna spend a billion dollars trying to smear whoever the nominee is, and we’d better be prepared to beat him in the debate and prove exactly how wrong his values are, and how wrong his practices are.”

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