MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was in South Florida Friday to meet with voters and talked about a Cuban Spring as a key part of his foreign policy.
The former House speaker visited Versailles Restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana on Friday morning.
The restaurant is a popular meeting spot for older Cuban exiles and has been a traditional stopping point for candidates. He’s expected to deliver remarks and then take questions.
“My goal as President will be to create a Cuban Spring that is even more exciting than the Arab Spring,” Gingrich told restaurant patrons Friday morning.
According to Congressman David Rivera, Gingrich has made it a priority to bring freedom to Cuba.
“He has outlined on paper what he would do on U.S.-Cuba policy if he were elected President of the United States,” Rivera said. “He’s the only candidate that has done that.”
Still, some local Cuban leaders shared concerns about politicians making promises about Cuba – and then not cashing in on those campaign promises.
“The problem is they convince them that they are really honest in what they are saying and when they become president; they don’t forget about it and really implement what they have promised to do,” said Felix Rodriguez, president of the Bay of Pigs & Brigade 2506.
The other problem Gingrich has been facing in his own party is over his questioning of fellow candidate Mitt Romney’s claim that he created 100,000 jobs. Gingrich promised not to back down on his questioning.
“I’ve gotten huge push back,” Gingrich said. “Some of you have seen this so let me be clear. To question a presidential candidates claim that he created jobs is not to attack capitalism; it’s to question a candidate.”
The Romney claim has been proven false and his campaign has had to walk back the comments the former Massachusetts governor made.
Gingrich is confident about next week’s primary in South Carolina.
“Now he doesn’t want to talk about his role as a Massachusetts governor because it’s too liberal, and he knows that in South Carolina and Florida, they’re not going to vote for a Massachusetts moderate,” said Gingrich.
Gingrich headed to Orlando Friday afternoon and will return to campaign in South Carolina this weekend.