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Newt Gingrich stumps for Kenneth Blackwell



Published: Wed, October 25, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Strickland has voted to cut taxes 81 times, his spokesman said in response.

MIAMISBURG, Ohio (AP) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich touted fellow Republican Ken Blackwell as the best man for the governor's job on Tuesday, saying Blackwell's commitment to lower taxes will create more jobs to rejuvenate Ohio's struggling economy.

He also said any consideration of a presidential run in 2008 is a year away.

Gingrich said Blackwell's Democratic opponent, Rep. Ted Strickland, has a record of voting for higher taxes.

"The gap between Strickland's record of consistently voting for tax increases and against tax cuts and Ken Blackwell's consistent passion for lower taxes and more economic activity and more job creation, more opportunity, could hardly be wider," Gingrich told reporters at the Dayton Wright Brothers Airport in this Dayton suburb before accompanying Blackwell to a fundraiser.

Response from Strickland

Strickland campaign spokesman Keith Dailey said Strickland voted to cut taxes 81 times as a member of Congress and has returned $1 million to the U.S. Treasury in savings from the operations of his congressional office.

"The only thing consistent about that rhetoric is its inconsistency with the truth," Dailey said.

Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said Strickland voted 83 times to either raise taxes or against tax cuts.

Blackwell favors reducing Ohio's tax burden and leasing the Ohio Turnpike, using the proceeds for economic development.

Strickland says Ohio's Republican-dominated state government has contributed to its economic woes. He says tax reforms enacted in the 2005 budget should be given time to work before further changes are made.

Blackwell's fundraiser with Gingrich was held at a home in nearby Centerville and raised about $150,000 for Blackwell's campaign.

Gingrich, who led Republicans to control of the House in the 1994 elections, said the Republicans have not earned re-election to a majority in Congress, but the Democrats are worse.

How he sees it

He said if the election were held today, the GOP would retain control of the Senate, but the House would be a tossup. He said Republicans seem to be gaining strength recently among voters.

"If we get two more weeks of movement the way we've gotten over the last week, we'll keep the House by six to eight seats," he said.

The Georgia Republican said he's busy developing an organization that will come up with solutions to national problems having to do with the environment, energy, education and other issues. He said he won't weigh whether to jump into the 2008 presidential race until next fall.

"We need ideas radically more than we need ambition right now in terms of national leadership," Gingrich said. "So I'm going to focus on that. Next September, I'll look at it."




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