(CNSNews.com) – Increased domestic energy exploration is consistent with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s “green conservatism” philosophy, the former House Speaker told CNSNews.com.
“I wrote a book called ‘Contract with the Earth’ that outlined what I think would be a green conservatism,” Gingrich told CNSNews.com. “One of the examples is that green conservatism favors energy production.”
Gingrich did a commercial in 2008 with then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) talking about climate change for the organization “We Can Solve It.” But Gingrich pointed to his “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” initiative from 2008 that encouraged more domestic drilling, and that he testified against cap and trade legislation in 2009 to help defeat the proposal.
The bigger issue is becoming energy independent, Gingrich said, which means continuing domestic production of oil and coal but also exploring ways to develop solar, hydrogen and other alternative means.
“People have to recognize we have more total energy than any other country in the world – more than Russia, more than Canada, more than Saudi Arabia,” Gingrich said. “You currently have an anti-American energy bureaucracy and an anti-American energy president. As a result we ship $400 or $500 billion per year overseas. We kill American jobs. We raise the cost of American industry. We raise the cost of the American consumer.”
“So I would favor a very aggressive, very strong energy program. I think it’s totally compatible with a healthy sound environment,” Gingrich continued. “And I think you can have an across the board system. You can use coal, natural gas, oil. You can also use ethanol, solar power, wind power, nuclear power.
“There are many different steps you can take, including developing brand new things like hydrogen. I think we should be in favor of the maximum development of American energy so that the American consumer has the most choices at the lowest cost to have the largest number of jobs and to keep $400 or $500 billion here at home,” he added.
During the interview with CNSNews.com, Gingrich also said if he wins the GOP nomination he wanted to have seven Lincoln-Douglass style debates with President Obama.
“The first thing I will do as the Republican nominee is I will challenge President Obama to seven Lincoln-Douglas style three-hour debates with a timekeeper and no moderator so the American people can see past a billion dollars in false advertising,” Gingrich said.
“They can see past the bias of The New York Times and the various mainstream media, and they’d have a chance to actually watch the two of us face to face,” Gingrich continued. “The presidential campaign is the one place where you can get enough coverage that you can actually be in people’s living rooms without editing.
“I think we’ve proven in recent debates that when people have a chance to watch what I’m actually saying and actually doing, they’re dramatically more popular than The New York Times thought they’d be.”
Gingrich, released a 21sth Century Contract with America document as his campaign platform, which includes as the first item doing away with Obamacare.
CNSNews.com asked about the likelihood of repealing any federal program when it has been enacted. Gingrich said his experience as speaker makes him uniquely qualified for the repeal task that every GOP candidate supports.
“The first great entitlement reform of your lifetime was welfare. Two out of three people went to work or went to school,” Gingrich said. “I led the effort to reform Medicare in 1996. We had the first tax cut in 15 years and the largest capital gains tax cut in history. As a result, unemployment dropped to 4.2 percent.
“We balanced the federal budget for four years in a row, the only time in your lifetime that we had four straight years of a balanced budget. So I think I know how to pass large things,” he added.
Gingrich said that will require campaigning for the entire Republican Party to make big gains in Congress in 2012.
“As a former speaker of the House, I’m very confident that if we got a majority in the Senate and the House – and I would campaign as a team leader. I wouldn’t campaign just for the presidency – this is a constitutional system,” Gingrich said.
“We need to elect about a dozen U.S. senators. We need to elect about 20 or 30 more House members. If we did that, I think within the first couple of weeks we could repeal Obamacare and then spend some time carefully out in the open with transparency creating a replacement model that the American people understand and believe in.”