Readers sound off: Newt Gingrich supports oil drilling during St. Petersburg visit
[Protesters gather outside the Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg, where Newt Gingrich is speaking about offshore oil drilling. Photo by Terri Dirmann of St. Petersburg | View more photos, share yours]
Former U.S. House Speaker Gingrich Newt Gingrich is holding a town hall meeting at St. Petersburg's Vinoy Renaissance hotel tonight to speak in support of offshore oil drilling. Opponents of offshore drilling called for a protest outside the meeting, and said they would ring the hotel with people dressed in black to symbolize the risks of a oil spill polluting Florida's beaches.
Earlier today Newt Gingrich said he liked everything about President Barack Obama's announcement to open up 24 million acres of the eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling — except for the timing.
"If he's going to announce he's for drilling, he should announce that we're drilling now," said Gingrich, who coined the phrase "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less," during a meeting with the St. Petersburg Times editorial board today.
Gingrich contended that Obama's plan only promises to allow drilling years from now, as a way to get a climate change bill passed by Congress now. That won't fly with the American people, who want more jobs and a better economy right away, he said.
Tampabay.com readers reacted to Gingrich's statements in Times reporter Craig Pittman's story. Here's a look at what some readers are saying:
"Anybody who thinks drilling off of the Florida coast is a good idea clearly does not live here " ~ Mr.Fabulous
"Yet again we are reminded that politicians are NOT scientists." ~ stpetey43
"I am impressed that Obama is striving to reach a balanced energy policy which includes development of domestic oil and gas to reduce our dependence on imports." ~ iamapopulistnow