ATLANTA — In a speech to the Georgia General Assembly and a subsequent Capitol news conference, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich warned that continued dependence of foreign oil is one of the greatest threats to America’s economic future.
Gingrich also assailed President Barack Obama for apologizing to Muslims after American forces mistakenly burned copies of the Quran recently in Afghanistan.
Gingrich is campaigning in Georgia this week in preparation for Super Tuesday Primary. Georgia’s 76 delegates represent the biggest prize among the 10 states holding primaries next Tuesday.
The United States can’t afford to keep sending $500 billion a year overseas to purchase foreign oil, especially when there is so much domestic gas and oil available, Gingrich said. He said gas prices could drop to $2.50 or even $2 a gallon if the United States “dramatically” ramped up drilling offshore and on federal land.
“We own 69 percent of Alaska, which is twice the size of Texas. So the United States owns one-and-a-half Texases, which is currently off limits,” Gingrich said. “We ought to be able to do something dramatically better.
“If you’re not spending $500 billion overseas, that strengthens the dollar,” he continued. “And if you’re keeping $500 billion at home, that increases jobs in America.”
Gingrich also slammed Obama for his apology to Muslims over American soldiers mistakenly burning copies of the Quran at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
“I believe that no American president should apologize when young Americans are being killed,” Gingrich said.
He then suggested that the president owes American soldiers an apology for “bowing down” to Islamic leaders’ protests.
The White House has responded to similar remarks by Gingrich recently, saying Obama was concerned for American troop and civilian safety when he issued the apology.
“The president believed that it was in the best interests of their safety to make it clear that an apology was appropriate, and that the American people and the American military in particular does have respect for the religious views and the religious practices of the Afghan people,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said last week.
A 1961 graduate of Baker High School here, Gingrich plans a campaign stop in Columbus on Friday.
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