In his appearance at the New York State Republican Party dinner last night, Newt Gingrich took a jab at Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mr. Gingrich told the audience he’s staying in the presidential race “to articulate big themes and big issues.” One of those “big themes” is his belief politicians aren’t being tough enough on terrorism due to political correctness and, as an example, he cited Mayor Bloomberg’s response to the attempted Times Square car bombing in 2010.
“You had a Pakistani come to the U.S., get his citizenship, go back home, take a course in how to build a bomb, come back to the U.S.–luckily, he wasn’t very good at it–builds a car bomb, it doesn’t go off, it smokes,” Mr. Gingrich said. “After all of our investment in national security, all of our investment in intelligence, how do we discover that there’s a car bomb in Times Square? A street vendor walks up to a policeman and says, ‘That car is smoking.’ That was our early warning system. And the mayor promptly goes on tv and says on CBS, ‘We shouldn’t rush to judgement, it could have been somebody who’s opposed to Obamacare.”
Mr. Gingrich was referring to an interview Mayor Bloomberg gave to Katie Couric after the attempted bombing in which Hizzoner said he believed the bomb was the work of”a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health-care bill or something.” Mr. Gingrich said he wanted to “make two points” about Mayor Bloomberg’s response to the bombing.
“First is, statiscally, to the best of my knowledge, there have been thousands of bombs in the last decade from radical Islamists and, to the best of my knowledge, there have been no bombs by people opposed to Obamacare,”Mr. Gingrich said. “Second, let’s be clear, how frightened do our elites have to be if they can’t even tell the truth?”
Earlier in his speech Mr. Gingrich posited politicians are afraid to be honest about “radical Islamists” because of political correctness.
“The truth is, our elites are frightened of talking honestly about these problems. We can’t even use the right language,” Mr. Gingrich said. “We are trying to deal with radical Islamists as though, in 1946, the word ‘communist’ had become outlawed and people tried to explain the Soviet Union and said, ‘I can’t descride communism because we all know it’s not communism, so I wonder why Stalin behaves the way he does because he seems strange.’ And this is a city which suffers from that.”
Mr. Gingrich also pegged politicians’ inability to deal with Muslim terrorists to our dependence on oil from the Middle East. He suggested acheiving energy independence would allow this country to confront the threat of terrorism more directly.
“Let me give you a strategy, a non-military strategy,” Mr. Gingrich said. “The United States should adopt as one of its highest priorities creating absolute energy independence so no future president ever again bows to a Saudi king.”
This isn’t the first time Mr. Gingrich has thrown a jab at Mayor Bloomberg during this presidential campaign. Back in December, he told an Iowa television station he doesn’t “come out of a background where we can buy a seat or buy, as Mayor Bloomberg did, buy the mayorship of New York.”
“If you look at how much he spent, he just wrote a check and bought it,” Mr. Gingrich said.
Mayor Bloomberg responded to that remark by telling reporters at a press conference about the city’s efforts to promote bike safety that he simply can’t be bothered with Mr. Gingrich.
“What, did he say something?” Mayor Bloomberg asked. “My job is have more events like this to be able to say that bike safety has gone up dramatically, crime has gone down, deaths by fire, deaths by traffic, that schools are improving, and that is what I am going to focus on.”