THE VILLAGES, Fla. -- Everyone wants to create jobs. Candidates and politicians propose a mix of tax breaks, government assistance, new legislation and so forth. But for Newt Gingrich, there's a much easier magical formula: just defeat President Barack Obama.
Gingrich held a large outdoor rally Sunday at the retirement community The Villages, attracting die-hard supporters, undecided Republicans and members of the community who simply decided to see what all the commotion was about as they were walking their dogs or going to lunch.
He laid out a startlingly simple plan to create new jobs, saying it would happen as soon as Obama is defeated -- as soon as on election night itself.
"People say to me, 'How fast will things turn around?' Let's talk about jobs. How quickly will people start to invest in new jobs? Late on election night when we defeat Barack Obama, people will start making decisions to create new jobs," he said.
Gingrich is increasingly taking on the Republican establishment, upset at the attacks he has weathered in recent days from backers of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose surrogates are attempting to "portray the former speaker as erratic."
He continued that theme on Sunday, going hard after Wall Street and the "establishment in this country" -- no doubt an attack at Romney:
We need somebody's who willing to change Washington. We need somebody who knows enough about Washington to know how to change Washington. Both are necessary. Now, I know that all of you have seen all sorts of articles and the Washington establishment is coming unglued. When we had three consecutive polls this week leading by a significant margin nationally, they got even more unglued. Well let me tell you -- they should be.
I am not running for president to manage the decay of the United States to the satisfaction of the establishment. And I am not running for president of the United States to make the Wall Street elite and the Washington elite happy. I am running to change both groups on behalf of the people of the United States of America.
I do not believe Wall Street can give enough money to run enough negative ads to hide from the truth. The truth is we have been served badly, as the American people, by the establishment in this country in both parties. Let's be clear about it. In both parties! And it's time someone stood up for hard-working, tax-paying Americans and said, 'Enough!' And if that makes the old order uncomfortable, my answer is: Good!
This message -- that the GOP establishment is backing Romney and not Gingrich -- has certainly caught on with Gingrich supporters.
"The biggest problem right now is not just fighting the liberal press, but it's fighting the conservative press," Bob Carter, a resident of The Villages who is backing Gingrich, told The Huffington Post before the event. "Conservatives -- Washington establishment conservatives -- they're not supporting Gingrich at all. I think they're afraid of payback. If he gets in, they'll have to answer for what they did to him in the late '90s."
Of course, Gingrich's speech was not without a significant number of attacks on Obama, including hits on his foreign policy and his decision to deny a permit for building the Keystone XL pipeline.
But Gingrich also seemed to criticize the Bush administration for failing to anticipate a 9/11-type attack.
"Remember when 9/11 -- airplanes hit the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon? And the next day someone in national security said, 'Gee, we hadn't thought about the use of commercial airlines as a weapon.' And I thought to myself, Tom Clancy wrote a novel about it eight years earlier, in which a Boeing 737 goes into the Capitol," he said. "There's a complete failure of imagination among [Washington]. They can't get in their head that if Iranians get nuclear weapons, they don't have to fire a missile. They can just drive a boat into Jacksonville. Drive a boat into New York harbor."
Romney plans to visit The Villages on Monday. Senior citizens are a crucial sector of the GOP constituency in Florida, making up 40 percent of primary voters.