MILWAUKEE � As presidential candidates travel the nation promising change, former United States House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday each Republican candidate can do just that.
Gingrich, speaking at a Republican Party of Wisconsin fundraising event, said one candidate needs to stand out with a broad vision of change for the nation.
�What none of them have done yet and what they need to work at is, like Reagan, develop a broad visionary speech that allows people to understand what they would do, that brings people together in a way to say �I got it,�� Gingrich said. �I think the candidate who creates that broad, visionary sense of change will probably end up being the Republican nominee.�
Without endorsing one particular candidate, Gingrich said John McCain promises changing special interest group relations in Washington, Rudy Giuliani changed New York to make it the safest big city in America, Mike Huckabee promises changes to income tax policies while Mitt Romney pledges to use his business background to change the overall climate of Washington.
None of them, Gingrich said, has the broad visionary idea down concretely yet.
And with no clear frontrunner in place yet in either party, Gingrich said Wisconsin and other states with later primaries could have a tremendous impact on who becomes the eventual nominee.
While Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, will likely have a greater impact on the Democratic race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Gingrich said a Republican frontrunner could emerge, but there might not be a definitive candidate.
�I think on the Republican side the odds are at least even money that you could have at least three candidates very viable by the time they get to the Wisconsin primary,� Gingrich said. �And, ironically, that will actually end up meaning the states that come later are more important, not less important, in the process of finally deciding who the nominee is.�
Despite Wisconsin siding with John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000, Wisconsin Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus said he is excited at the prospect of the state�s impact in November’s general election.
�We have a very unique situation in Wisconsin,� Priebus said. �As I sit on the RNC � we are very fortunate to have a few people in our state that we can build our party around � people like Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrenner, J.B. Van Hollen.�
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, who is also up for reelection this year, said Republicans should be �proud� of the selection of presidential candidates they have.
�Any one of the candidates on the Republican side of the aisle is eminently more qualified than the top three Democrats on the ballot,� Walker said.
With the primary process drawn out over a series of months, Gingrich, who said he would support whoever the Republican nominee is, does not mind waiting.
�I like competition. I think our candidates are better than they were three months ago,� he said. �I think they have learned a lot by competing with each other, and I think that they will be much better to compete with Sen. Clinton, who I think is probably most certainly going to be the Democratic nominee.�
On the Democratic side, Gingrich said the political disputes between Obama and Clinton do not surprise him.
�The Clintons have built a mean machine which has been very good since 1978 at winning elections,� he said. �They are very determined to get back to the White House and are quite prepared to run over who they have to.�
Gingrich added the Clintons were nice to Obama �as long as he wasn’t a threat,� which he has become in recent weeks.
While in Milwaukee, Gingrich promoted his �Platform of the American People,� a part of his recent book �Real Change.�
In the Platform, Gingrich used a series of telephone town hall meetings and surveys with the goal of finding a common ground between all Republicans, Democrats and Independents.
Among his findings, Gingrich found 87 percent of Americans support English as the official American language and 84 percent support a one-page tax form option.
Several Republican state legislators attended the event, including Reps. Robin Vos, Ted Kanavas and Jim Ott.