September 27, 2007

Live Blog: Solutions Day Launch

Newt Gingrich will begin speaking at 7 pm CT to officially launch Solutions Day. Rob Bluey and I will live-blog the speech from the media center. The actual ballroom where this speech will take place has filled to capacity. The original room had a capacity for 800 people, and they had to overflow into an adjoining wing. Estimates of the attendance now exceed 1,000.

Keep checking back -- and you can webcast this event live from the American Solutions site as well.

6:59 ET - Bipartisanship has officially been seen! Dennis Kucinich's campaign has a booth here, as do Thompson, Rudy, McCain, Huckabee, Romney, and Paul.

7:00 - We can certainly hear the bass in their overture ....

7:04 - The first speaker is Michael Crowley, the Texas Railroad commissioner. He's introducing the concept of Solutions Day. We're getting the audio but not the video in the Media Center, which means we could use a solution here, too.

7:06 - The invocation was delivered by Deacon Joseph Ruberte. That was followed the Mayor of Atlanta, a Democrat who "believes Gingrich is right ... The best ideas will come from across the country, from many different voices, from people who want to be real solutions providers."

7:11 - Saxby Chambliss also joins from video, again underscoring the nonpartisan nature of Solutions Day. "We have gotten way too partisan with our politics." At least this event puts its money where its mouth is. We have enough representatives from both parties to make the claim. Saxby says he's applying this idea to agricultural policy, but that's rather scary -- because ag subsidies has been one of the few areas where bipartisanship makes the problem worse, not better.

7:15 - Hey, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue made it! That's the real Governor of Georgia, this time ...

7:16 - Perdue says that two-year-olds want to solve everything themselves. Mature individuals come together as communities to produce solutions. Interesting analogy ....

7:21 - Newt's on stage now. "As a general rule, levees should not break, bridges should not fall," gets a lot of applause, but "English should be the official language of America" gets an ovation.

7:23 - Newt's talking about the amazing decline of Detroit -- and says it's because of bureaucracies that don't deliver and governments are incompetent. He uses the FedEx analogy to show how private enterprise delivers (literally) by tracking 23 million packages each day. A FedEx truck has more computing power than an Apollo vehicle. Now, the federal government can't even track people crossing our borders. That's obviously touched a nerve here, too.

7:28 - Newt has the audience hooked. He's sounding out some traditional conservative themes on border security, trial lawyers, and economic power.

7:30 - American Solutions has 135 websites, attempting to harness grassroots power and knowledge. He compares this to Rudy Giuliani's efforts to use evidence-based systems to make objective judgments on public policy. We need more objective measurements, more evidence-based policy judgments, and less partisanship.

7:32 - "Red vs Blue issues" should be transformed to "Red White & Blue" issues. Gingrich says that AmSol has six polls, and they're about to announce some of the data. Stay tuned ....

7:34 - Kellyanne Conway introduces the data presentation by quoting Ronald Reagan that "change always happens at the dinner table." They want to harness the distributed network of American citizens to find solutions from the ground up. Their polling avoided "horse-race" polling.

7:36 - A majority (65%) says the federal government needs major transformational change. They are tired of gridlock, and a large majority prefer the mechanisms of private enterprise.

7:37 - 92% support long-term solutions to big problems like Social Security, border control and immigration, and the like.

7:40 - A large majority support legal immigration. 72% believe that the nation does not enforce its immigration laws, and 88% support deporting felonious illegals. 83%, though, support offering intensive English-language instruction to those who need it.

7:41 - More than 67% believe in defeating America's enemies, and similar percentages believe that the gridlock in Washington makes it harder to do that.

7:42 - A large majority believes in some Social Security privatization.

7:43 - 72% believe that entrepenuers will solve economic and environmental problems, not government. That's bad news for certain erstwhile presidential candidates-cum-filmmakers.

7:44 - The announcement that a majority oppose the banishment of God from public discourse gets a standing ovation. 90% say religious values are personally important and 79% say it's important for the nation.

7:47 - Newt: "you can act with confidence that 70-80% of the people of this nation agree with your values... Only when government becomes stunningly incompetent does this nation become narrowly divided." (rough quote)

7:49 - Newt didn't like Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia, either. We should be defending against the Iranian attacks against the US. When an enemy arises to liberty, we have a duty to defeat that enemy.

7:51 - Modern technology makes it possible for the American citizenry to demand change from its governing class.

7:53 - They're introducing the Solutions Lab, which is a cross between a Wiki, a social network, and a workshop area. It's quite advanced, using some of the ideas we first saw from Joe Trippi in the Dean campaign, but in a non-partisan sense.

7:55 - At the end of the presentation, I heard someone behind me murmur, "Sweet!" Rob and I went into the main hall, because the video never did get fixed in the Media Center.

7:57 - We want to "liberate the creativity of 300 million Americans." One key area is education. The failure of math/science education presents more of a threat to our long-term national security than any conceivable conventional war.

7:58 - He's now introducing former Colorado Governer Roy Romer, a Democrat who also ran the LA school district. Talk about a thankless job! This is part of the "ED in 08" project, which Newt has endorsed as a part of American Solutions.

8:00 "The world is very, very fastly passing us by." Eesh. Not a great way to introduce educational reform.

8:02 - Romer says we need hard data. We need to know if we're keeping up with the competition. We're also having 1.2 million kids drop out of high school a year -- an astoundingly high number. Even those who graduate have little preparation; a third or more need remedial education in core areas once they get to college.

8:03 - Our expectations are too low for our kids. I've heard this almost all my life. I had a good friend from Brazil, Paulo, who had started algebra in the fifth grade there.

8:05 - We need performance based pay for teachers. Romer, as a Democrat, says he knows that some of his suggestions will rub his party the wrong way, and some will rub us the wrong way. I'm assuming this suggestion is one of the former.

8:08 - Romer was very well received by the crowd here. He gave a bit of a fiery stump speech, and it was appreciated by the audience.

8:10 - Newt has a map up that shows how many field workshops have already been created -- and it's pretty remarkable.

8:11 - Someone tried to stop the entire show by requesting permission to ask a question. Newt suggested he stop by the book-signing table after the presentation.

8:14 - Gingrich tells the story of Valley Forge, a story he includes in many of his speeches. You could hear a pin drop as he related the desperate nature of the Revolution at that point, and how the password for the attack, Victory or Death, represented cruel reality to Washington's forces. With their backs against the wall, they prevailed -- and citizens rallied to their cause by the thousands. If we could do that then, why not now?

8:17 - "Politics is not about cynicism ... shallow, cheap tricks; politics is a process in which we come together and help govern this great nation. If we can't do that, then we can't lead the world." An excellent valediction for his launch. He also invited his grandchildren and their friends to the stage, and said, "This is what it's all about."

8:22 - Wow -- it finished early? When was the last time a politician left the stage early?

I think this was an effective launch. Newt and Romer spoked very effectively, even though both used different styles. I'm back in the Media Center, where the two journalists who covered this noted that Gingrich relied on Republican issues -- border security, immigration, entitlement reform, and so on. However, I think they missed the point. Their polling shows that while these issues may get identified with Republicans inside the beltway, a large majority of people believe that these are issues that need priority solutions. The key is to find solutions that can either bridge or bypass the partisan bickering.

I'm glad I came out here today. It's an ambitious, audacious project, and if Newt can make it work, he will have a huge constituency for significant policy change. That, in the end, may be far more satisfying for Gingrich than a presidential campaign.


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I’m with Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters waiting for Newt Gingrich to take the stage (watch it here) at Solutions Day. Right now a number of presenters (including Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Gov. Sonny Perdue) are talking about finding sol... [Read More]

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Comments (13)

Posted by flenser | September 27, 2007 6:55 PM

88% support deporting felonious illegals

That's pretty much all of them. Giving a false SSN is a felony punishable by five years in prison and a quarter million dollar fine. Similar penalties apply for forging other doucments.

Posted by Rose | September 27, 2007 8:39 PM

It's a shame that Newt's private character and moral values doesn't match his public personae.

He just this minute told Sean Hannity LIVE on FOX NEWS that Senator Hillary Clinton is a [good] Senator whose major [flaw is [frip - lost it already] character - because she is [sold out to] Liberal ideas.]

ARGH! I'll try to catch that again at 11PM! Dang!

Anyway the point being - obviously - too bad the dirtbag SOUNDS so good - but ain't the REAL DEAL!


Besides, Newt has already proven, HE TALKS RIGHTIE AND VOTES LEFTIE.

I'll never forget that smarmy smirk he found so delicious as he laughed in Sean's face about the American people demanding RULE OF LAW AND MAJORITY RULE about the issues of ILLEGAL ALIEN, while he sat there AGREEING COMPLETELY AND WHOLEHEARTEDLY with ALAN COLMES.

What he says about Illegal Aliens now is only HIS PRAGMATIC VIEW of the GOP BASE! - "flip flopping"!

Posted by tbrosz | September 27, 2007 9:43 PM

Don't think Newt has much future as a presidential candidate, but I have to admit, it wouldn't suck if whoever was the Republican candidate had him in his administration.

Posted by mrlynn | September 27, 2007 10:13 PM

I was disappointed to see Newt apparently getting sucked into the Great Global Warming Hoax (quote from his "Winning the Future" e-pistle today:

The United States could reduce the carbon going into the atmosphere by 2,200,000,000 tons a year and be 15% better than the Kyoto standard if we simply produced the same percentage of electricity from nuclear power as France does today. There should be a strong effort to develop safe, reliable, 21st-Century models of nuclear plants which could be built quickly and reliably.

Yes, we should develop modern nuclear power, but NOT because we should be worried about CO2.

Newt is an innovative and interesting thinker, but not a terribly critical one—omnivorous but not discriminating. His health-care ideas, for instance, nibble around the edges of the problem (worrying about inefficiencies and not statism), so he goes on and on about computerization and ignores Health Savings Accounts, which are the only alternative at this point to socialized medicine.

Still, I'd love to spend an afternoon reviewing a multitude of policies with him!

/Mr Lynn

Posted by Cecile Young | September 27, 2007 10:35 PM

I believe you meant Michael Williams, Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission.

Posted by kreiz | September 27, 2007 11:11 PM

Mrlynn, I agree with your assessment of Gingrich. He's a brilliant idea guy who's not particularly adept at separating the wheat from the chaff. But he's so charismatic and compelling that it's easy to overlook this. I have to admit being a sucker for his bipartisan talk, which is odd, given that his public persona was cast and sealed as a GOP treeshaker (to paraphrase Rev. Jackson). I doubt if he'll be able to shake his old image and recast himself as bipartisan Newt. Finally, he mentioned several issues where Americans are overwhelmingly supportive (English as the primary language, e.g.), neither Red nor Blue. But as anti-war sentiment approaches 70%, I doubt if he believes that sizeable majority should be embraced.

Excellent interview, Ed. Fascinating stuff.

Posted by kreiz | September 27, 2007 11:18 PM

Sorry, not finished. He's most compelling when he's talking about his bedrock values- western civilization, progress, freedom, technology, capitalism. Nobody does it better. And despite his former hyper-partisanship, he's at his best when he advocates inclusiveness.

Posted by FedUp | September 28, 2007 8:46 AM

OK... vote... Hilary or Newt??? Crook vs morals?

Posted by john | September 28, 2007 3:47 PM

I'm always amazed how often people make judgments based on misinformation. Newt's ideas and positions on the environment have nothing to do with global warming. His position is this: 1) an incredibly vast majority of Americans across the political spectrum believe in having a healthy environment (read clean air & water, preserving forest lands for hiking, hunting, fishing, etc, etc), 2) the liberal model of regulation and litigation is ineffective, costly to taxpayers and our economy, and dangerously big government, and 3) the correct (and American) approach is encouraging innovation and technology because it will result in a better economy and a cleaner environment. The above quotation from Newt points out how stupid the liberal model of environmentalism is, not that global warming is real or is going to kill us all or anything along those lines. There is nothing pro-global warming about Newt's position.

As for the comment about anti-war sentiment approaching 70%, that's an obviously incorrect number. 70% of Americans are NOT in favor of an immediate troop withdrawal. Period. Americans are correctly upset with how the war is progressing. However, most Americans aren't upset because we are fighting in Iraq, but because we are not winning (at least not quickly or very visibly or in the portrayals of the war by the MSM). More Americans want to win than want to withdraw before victory. Furthermore, with regard to Gingrich and the Iraq War, he has been highly critical of the Bush Administration's strategy in Iraq for several years and has called for a number of significant changes (some of which have begun to occur under Petraeus & Crocker)in our Iraq strategy to help achieve victory. Thus, you are incorrect in asserting Gingrich is at odds with the American people over Iraq. He is actually with the majority (unlike both the President and the Democrats).

Posted by mrlynn | September 28, 2007 6:11 PM

John, when Newt writes,

"The United States could reduce the carbon going into the atmosphere by 2,200,000,000 tons a year and be 15% better than the Kyoto standard. . ."

it sure sounds like he's been suckered into the assumptions behind 'global warming' hysteria. Otherwise, why worry about reducing carbon (read 'carbon dioxide')? He could have said "reduce fossil fuel consumption" to better effect.

But I sure hope you're right, as I admire Newt Gingrich, and greatly enjoy listening to him. Kreiz above is right; Newt is "charismatic and compelling."

BTW, I was dismayed today to see that President Bush has fallen into the 'global warming' trap. Sigh.

/Mr Lynn

Posted by john | September 28, 2007 11:31 PM

Mr. Lynn
Gingrich said in a speech months ago (and I'm paraphrasing of course) that even though he disagrees with global warming proponents on A) whether it even occurring/is caused by man and B) if it is actually occurring, what the consequences would be, that he can still find common ground with liberal environmentalists because you don't have to believe in global warming to be pro-environment. Where he disagrees with liberal environmentalists is their approach (regulation, litigation), not the overarching goal (a good environment). I get the impression that the global warming debate is sort of irrelevant to Gingrich. Like I said before, the point of his quote above isn't that carbon dioxide is going to kill us all ala Al Gore, but rather to describe how illogical and ineffective the current environmental policy of this country is (in other words: the goal of liberal environmentalists is to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and yet they are unwilling to even consider the most obvious and effective way to do it, nuclear power). The other part of Newt's position on the environment that most miss is this: if Republicans properly articulate the goal of a healthy economy and a healthy environment through technology, innovation, and capitalism, then Republicans can actually take away the environmental issue from the Democrats (who currently dominate it).

Posted by mrlynn | September 29, 2007 4:01 PM


I hope you're right. The left's anti-'carbon', anti-nuclear stances are certainly irrational, and I hope that was indeed the point of Newt's mentioning 'carbon' at all.

And I certainly agree that the Republicans have certainly made a mess of their own positions and need to better articulate a positive environmental message—but a sane one, not informed by junk-science hysteria.

I don't like to see anyone as important as Newt (not to mention the President) seeming to play into that hysteria.

/Mr Lynn

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