Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida GOP primary is less than a week away and Newt Gingrich is pulling ahead of his closest rival, Mitt Romney. Wednesday, Gingrich sat down with CBS4’s Eliott Rodriguez to talk about his views on Cuban policy.
Rodriguez questioned Gingrich on how he would handle the communist nation, which could be crucial to shoring up support amongst the Cuban-American community in South Florida, which typically leans Republican.
Gingrich said he would support covert operations to overthrow the Raul Castro-regime in Cuba. While Gingrich’s support for covert operations would be new, he told CBS4 the covert operations he would support couldn’t include violence.
He used the example of the Polish Solidarity movement during the 1980′s as an example of how to support non-violent covert operations.
“If you go back and look at what President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher and Pope John Paul II did starting in Poland,” Gingrich said, “they helped organize solidarity, financed it, got printing equipment and communications gear. They did a whole range of things that allowed solidarity to grow and prosper.”
Gingrich continued, “There are many, many things that are covert that aren’t violent, but nonetheless create a dramatically greater opportunity for freedom. I think our goal (for Cuba) should be to encourage the Cuban people to feel that the end of the Castro brothers is actually the end of the dictatorship and that the time has come for a transition.”
“What I’ve said is I have a proposal for a flat tax at 15 percent,” Gingrich said. “So I want every American to pay Mitt Romney’s (tax) rate by choosing a 15 percent flat tax.”
Gingrich’s interview comes less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, which Gingrich said had elements would be catastrophic to the United States.
“If he meant his 30 percent tax rate proposal, it is catastrophic,” Gingrich told CBS4. “That would double the capital gains tax. It would crash the stock market. It would weaken every pension fund in the country. It would reduce the value of every 401k. It would drive capital out of the United States. It would inhibit every type of investment for the next decade.”
Gingrich continued, “It would be an invitation to unemployment and decay. My hunch is he didn’t understand his own statement.”
Rodriguez also broached the topic of so-called Super PAC’s with the former House speaker. Gingrich’s rise has been aided by the very deep pockets of casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson.
The casino magnate is worth close to $20 billion and has already donated $10 million to the Super PAC supporting Gingrich.
Gingrich told CBS4 that his friendship and support from Adelson isn’t necessarily an endorsement of casino gambling, but rather about Adelson and Gingrich’s pro-Israeli positions.