Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Fresh off a rough debate performance Thursday night in Jacksonville; Newt Gingrich returned to South Florida Friday morning to try and whip up Latino support for Tuesday’s Florida GOP primary.
Gingrich started the morning at the annual Latin Builder’s Association in Miami. Gingrich also had scheduled appearances at the Hispanic Leadership Council and a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting.
When Gingrich appeared at the LBA, he looked noticeably tired and didn’t have his usual fire when he was making his speech. Still, Gingrich was able to get cheers from the crowd by targeting several programs and regulations that Republicans despise.
“There are three major bills that need to be repealed,” Gingrich said. “The first is Obamacare, which if you look at it from a business perspective…the threat of all sorts of government costs is a major reason small businesses have not been hiring. They have no idea what Obamacare will do to them.”
“One you repeal Obamacare, then you move towards replacing it, but first you must repeal it,” Gingrich said.
The only problem for GOP candidates is the Congressional Budget Office found that a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act would contribute billions more to the deficit than keeping it in place.
Gingrich then turned his attention towards the banking industry, which most Americans feel was at the heart of the Great Recession.
“Second, we should repeal the Dodd-Frank bill which is killing small banks,” Gingrich said. “It’s killing small banks which create 42 percent of the small business loans in this country.”
Gingrich also said the Congress should repeal bills that dealt with government red tape and said that the Environmental Protection Agency should be replaced in its current form.
But Gingrich is facing increasingly tall odds of coming out ahead in Florida. In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Mitt Romney is increasing his lead over Gingrich and that’s been the trend in almost every poll in the last few days.
Gingrich’s debate performance Thursday night, along with his statement Thursday that he would establish a space base on the moon by the end of eight years, has left his campaign reeling just four days before the Florida primary.
The space base comment has drawn jokes from Romney supporters.
“I think we ought to send Newt Gingrich to the moon and Mitt Romney to the White House,” said Arizona Senator John McCain, according to NBC News.
Gingrich was heading to another meeting Friday at the Hispanic Leadership Conference and was later meeting with a Jewish Republican group Friday afternoon.