THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo
LIMA, Ohio - In what had the trappings of a reunion, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich shared the stage with Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich and U.S. Senate candidate Rob Portman - all three veterans of the 1995 GOP takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Mr. Gingrich predicted another Republican victory in the House after the votes are counted Tuesday. He rallied about 800 people in the Veterans' Memorial Civic and Convention Center Tuesday in Lima in support of the statewide GOP ticket.
The group, minus Mr. Gingrich, then continued by bus to Toledo, where about 425 people gathered in the Erie Street Market for another "victory rally."
Participating in a three-day tour are the Republican candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, treasurer, auditor, secretary of state, and attorney general, and one candidate for Ohio Supreme Court, Judith Ann Lanzinger. The tour continues Wednesday in Port Clinton and then on to Lorain, Cuyahoga, and Summit counties.
"We did a lot of stuff together. It is a fact that John Kasich chaired the effort that for the first time since the 1920s balanced the federal budget for four straight years while cutting taxes to create more jobs," Mr. Gingrich said.
Mr. Gingrich, a former college history professor, lectured the crowd on American "exceptionalism," which he attributed to the assertion in the Declaration of Independence that all people are "endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights."
"We are the only society in human history that says power comes from God to each of us personally," Mr. Gingrich said. "You are personally sovereign and you loan power to the state. The state does not loan power to you."
He poked fun at Democratic leaders, suggesting that the food stamp should be the new symbol of the Democratic Party and the paycheck the symbol of the Republican Party.
In an interview after the speech, Mr. Gingrich predicted a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives by the time the states east of the Mississippi River have finished counting votes. Republicans need to win 39 seats now held by Democrats to retake the majority in the House.
He said winning the Senate would be "a little tougher."
"I'm very excited by the election in Ohio. John Boehner is going to be speaker," Mr. Gingrich said, referring to the Cincinnati-area congressman who now is the House minority leader.
"You have a real chance with Rob Portman and John Kasich to have just an extraordinary team really changing government and moving us back to job creation," he said.
Mr. Gingrich, who has not denied an interest in running for president in 2012, is one of the few national Republicans to campaign in Ohio since the race for the governorship has heated up.
On the Democratic side, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Bill Clinton have all made visits to Ohio for Mr. Strickland, and all three are scheduled to be back in the state this weekend.
Mr. Biden is expected in Toledo late afternoon or early evening on Sunday.
Mr. Gingrich was elected to the House in 1978, and became speaker in 1995, the year after Republicans won a majority of House seats.
Mr. Kasich, who was elected to the House from the Columbus area in 1982, became House Budget Committee chairman in 1995.
Mr. Portman, who is running against Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, was elected to Congress in 1993.
Mr. Gingrich's trip was in connection with the group American Solutions for Winning the Future, which calls itself a citizen-action center with 1.5 million members.
In introducing Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Kasich recalled the late 1990s as a period of "revolution."
"I had a front seat on that revolution and we didn't waste it. We changed welfare as we knew it. We ended generational dependence. We cut taxes for families and risk-takers," Mr. Kasich said, referring to what was also President Bill Clinton's second term of office.
In Toledo, Mr. Kasich attacked Mr. Strickland's campaign as negative.
"It's all designed to scare people," Mr. Kasich said, adding that everywhere he goes he's asked if he's going to take people's guns away and privatize state functions. "They don't have a single thing to say about what they're going to do.
"You'll get tired of seeing me because we're going to fix this town and make it great again, and get this whole region working again," Mr. Kasich said.
After the event, Mr. Kasich said that Mr. Strickland was "wrong" when the governor implied that Mr. Kasich introduced legislation in Congress to partially privatize Social Security in order to land a job with the former Lehman Brothers investment firm in 2001. "We need a new direction and we need somebody who's actually had experience in business," Mr. Kasich said.
Republican Congressional candidate Rich Iott was also on hand for the rally and a party fund-raiser, but did not take the stage, saying that the spot was intended only for the statewide ticket.
Mr. Iott is running against Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur of Toledo in the 9th Congressional District.
Also Tuesday, county GOP Chairman Jon Stainbrook said Mr. Boehner will appear at a rally Saturday at Lucas County Republican Party headquarters.
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