Yesterday, Newt Gingrich delivered a lecture in Davenport, Iowa’s John Deer Auditorium to push his new book, To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine. In light of the devastation wrought by the BP oil spill, which surpassed Exxon Valdez today as the worst in history, TP asked Gingrich whether it’s time to reevaluate his support for increasing offshore drilling. (The Obama administration has announced a temporary moratorium on granting new drilling permits.) Gingrich, the brains behind the “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” campaign, continued to push for opening California and the East Coast to offshore drilling:
GINGRICH: I think most Americans realize that in the long run we need the oil.
TP: We do?
GINGRICH: So that we’re not dependent on —
TP: Do you think California and the East Coast are going to be off the table?
TP: Or do you think that’s an option?
GINGRICH: I don’t think so because I think that there was a specific mistake made. I think it can be fixed. It’s the first oil well big problem in American since 1969. So I think when people put it in perspective it’ll be fine.
Watch the video:
Gingrich’s refusal to take drilling off of California and the East Coast off the table is a move that places the former House Speaker in opposition to prominent figures on the right including Gov. Schwarzenegger and Gov. Crist who have declared their opposition to offshore drilling.
Gingrich’s eagerness to downplay the ramifications of the spill should come as no surprise to those who have been following his career closely. In February, Edelman representative André Carter confirmed that American Petroleum Institute was “sharing resources, coordinating efforts” with Gingrich’s group, American Solutions for Winning the Future. Indeed, ASWF’s “Drill Here, Drill Now” campaign continues as the BP oil rig disaster worsens.
After singing praise of the tea party, ThinkProgress asked Gingrich to comment on the anti-Rand Paul ads that American Future Fund ran in the final days of the Kentucky primary. Gingrich bizarrely appeared to be clueless about the organization, saying “I don’t know who that is” and refusing further comment. Ironically, the event that Gingrich was headling at that very moment was organized by the GOP front group.