Newt Gingrich was in Illinois on a campaign swing for the state’s upcoming March 20 primary when the president called Republicans members of the “Flat Earth Society” for opposing his wild-eyed, outlandish ideas on wind, solar and “algae” power. I was at a small early afternoon event of perhaps as many as 25 people when Newt directly addressed the president’s taunts.

Earlier that morning Obama made his comments at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland. He even went so far as to attack “one of my predecessors,” Rutherford B. Hayes who Obama quotes as saying that telephones are great but “who would want to use them”? “This is why he isn’t on Mount Rushmore,” Obama quipped. But Hayes was hardly a Luddite in the White House. For instance, on May 10th 1877 Hayes was the first president to install a telephone in the White House, so who knows what Obama is rambling about?

For his part, Newt is ridiculing Obama’s failures on energy.

“Phase one of the President’s defense against drilling was algae and that got ridiculed so much he’s now given up on algae for the moment. Phase two is, ‘American oil is bad but Saudi oil is good.'”

“Now this is wrong on a couple of counts. First, I don’t want the money going to Saudi Arabia. I want the money going to American companies creating American jobs in American territories.

Second, it further increases our dependence on the Saudis who are the largest funders of terrorist education and the largest funders of radical Islamist education in the world. I don’t want American presidents that bow to the Saudi King. I want American presidents who produce American oil, in the United States, make us energy independent, precisely so we don’t turn to the Saudis.

Newt had a few words directly for the president, too. A reporter asked what Newt had to say about Obama claiming the Newt ridiculed biofuels. Newt said he didn’t.

“I don’t ridicule biofuels,” he said. “I’ve supported ethanol, for example, which is a biofuel… I have a friends at Texas A&M who are working on algae. The idea that algae is a solution this summer is a fantasy and he knows it’s a fantasy.”

“Obama represents the Flat Earth, Sierra Club Society,” Newt said.

Gingrich wanted someone to ask the president, “Why is Saudi drilling good and American drilling bad?”

“This is utter intellectual nonsense,” Newt taunted.

“If he wants to represent Saudi Oil and algae, I’ll be happy to represent American oil and American jobs and we’ll see this Fall who the American people want to elect.”

Gingrich also talked a little bit about this primary race, noted that several things surprised him about it, and admitted that his approach to Romney’s big money attack machine was a bad strategy.


Video of Newt’s Full Comments