Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Newt U is now in session

TAMPA — He wanted to be president of the United States, but this week Newt Gingrich must settle for president of Newt U.

Newt University is the Republican National Convention's official series of "public policy workshops" for delegates, journalists and party activists. Gingrich, the former House speaker and onetime Republican candidate for president, leads a rotating crop of ad hoc professors who will hold court on themes ranging from "We Can Do Better" to "We Believe in America" in different hotels through Thursday.

The two-hour seminars aren't exactly academic affairs. When Gingrich opened the series Monday at the downtown Hyatt Regency, the dominant theme on the syllabus was Medicare or, more specifically, what the professors characterized as President Barack Obama's effort to kill it.

Gingrich said he'd been "startled" by Democrats' attempts to distort the impact of Obama's health care law. He told his pupils, many of them Wisconsin delegates who came to hear Gov. Scott Walker speak, that Republicans struggled with the following problem:

"We tell the truth less effectively than Democrats lie."

He launched into a brief discussion of the Republican presidential ticket's Medicare plan.

For seniors age 55 and up, he said, "Nothing affects you, and Barack Obama has taken $716 billion from you. … You talk about who's tearing up Medicare, and it's Obama."

PolitiFact, the fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times, rated a similar claim by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Half True. The law doesn't cut $716 billion from the Medicare budget, but rather institutes a number of changes to bring down future costs.

PolitiFact also rated the claim that the Republican plan does not "affect" seniors over 55 as Half True. If Republicans repeal the health care law, that would also repeal provisions that give seniors preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs and additional help with prescription drug coverage.

Another teacher at Monday's event, former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, said in her lecture that Obama's plan to reduce certain Medicare reimbursement rates would be harmful to seniors.

"The administration would like you to believe that living to a ripe old age is a burden on the public coffers," she said before solemnly adding: "Living to a ripe old age happens to be a good value."

Other speakers included Walker, the Wisconsin governor, who received a standing ovation. He spoke about his efforts to reduce tax rates and institute public education changes, including ending tenure.

Pupils wandered in and out of the lectures, some listening intently, some reading newspapers. Mary Ann Waldenmeyer, a 67-year-old alternate delegate from Kansas, stood out for wearing a hat (a block of cheese, to honor her Wisconsin roots).

She said Newt U didn't introduce her to new material, but did elaborate on subjects with which she was familiar. "A lot of the numbers were clearer," she said.

Charles and Mary Rose Spano, a husband and wife from Scranton, Pa., said the lectures were the highlight of a slow Monday. Mary Rose, 67, is an alternate delegate.

Though about 150 people, a third of them journalists, attended Monday's lectures, more than 1,000 people registered online, according to organizers.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374.

Newt U sessions

Today, 10 a.m. to noon: "We Built it" — Small Businesses and Civil Society Build America. Newt Gingrich; Callista Gingrich; former Secretary Jim Nicholson, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Dr. Greggory DeVore, Physicians for Romney, Calif.; and Fred Lampropolous, Utah delegate. St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd. N, St. Petersburg.

Wednesday, 10 a.m. to noon: "We Can Change It" — The New American Energy Opportunity. Newt Gingrich; Kellyanne Conway, CEO & president, the polling company; Scott Noble, president, Noble Royalties, Inc.; Rebecca Rosen, energy adviser, Romney for President; and Harold Hamm, CEO, Continental Resources. Wyndham Tampa West Shore, Royal Palm 3, 700 West Shore Blvd.

Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: "We Believe In America" — We Don't Believe in Obamacare. Newt Gingrich; U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, Utah; U.S. Rep. Tom Price, Georgia; Donna Williams, North Carolina delegate; Dr. Greggory DeVore, Physicians for Romney, Calif.; and Kellyanne Conway, CEO & president, the polling company. Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort, Grand Ballroom D, 400 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater.

More information about the courses, including free online registration, can be found at newtuniversity.com

Newt U is now in session 08/27/12 [Last modified: Monday, August 27, 2012 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]