Lima, Ohio — As Election Day nears, former House speaker Newt Gingrich is crisscrossing the country, stumping for GOP candidates and kindling relationships for a potential 2012 presidential campaign. He was in Lima this afternoon, where he rallied support for John Kasich, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, and Rob Portman, who’s running for U.S. Senate.
Before taking the stage at the town’s civic center, Gingrich spoke exclusively with National Review Online about the upcoming midterms and how President Obama will need to adjust in the event that the GOP takes the House.
To avoid being a one-term president, Gingrich says Obama would need to “change very dramatically, but he has that right.”
“Any president has enormous capabilities,” Gingrich says. “If [Obama] wants to, he can change. Bill Clinton was prepared to. It’ll take six months, but we’ll find out by June or July where Obama is.”
Gingrich predicts that Republicans will win “55-plus” seats in the House and eight or more in the Senate. “We’re probably at a solid eight in the Senate,” he says. “It depends on the wave. If the wave is moving right, we pick up Washington and California. If the wave isn’t moving right, we’re stuck at eight. But the odds, I think, are almost even money that we could win up to ten and have control of the Senate.”
“The level of resentment is unlike anything I’ve seen in my lifetime, from a conservative perspective,” Gingrich continues. “Maybe the liberals felt this way about Nixon during Watergate, but I have never seen this level of conservative anger at somebody, the way [they’re angry] with the president.”
“Radical elites are in such denial about reality right now, whether it’s the president, Speaker Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Reid,” Gingrich says. The frustration with Democrats, he adds, is “bigger and deeper than in 1994.”
Should Republicans take the House, Gingrich urges them, in the “very first week,” to pass a ‘no tax increase on any American during the recession’ bill and send it to the president in January.
“Then the president can decide: Does he love class warfare so much that he’s going to veto stopping tax increases on middle-class Americans, or is he going to recognize that in this recession, he ought to relax and accept the American people’s verdict,” Gingrich asks. “That should be the first big test.”
Indeed, even if the president can’t stand Republicans, Gingrich says, he’ll end up having to deal with them, like it or not. “The nice thing about the American constitution is that it doesn’t care,” Gingrich says. “If you end up with Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner, [Obama] can work with them or not, but they’ll be a fact, not a problem.”