J.C. Watts and Herman Cain join Jackie Gingrich Cushman to rally support for former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich
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Published: 05-Mar-2012

Contrary to weekend news reports, including from CapitolBeatOK, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was not in Oklahoma today (Monday, March 5). However, his surrogates for a rally at the Reed Center in Midwest City (immediately east of Oklahoma City) included former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts of Norman, one of the most popular political figures in modern Oklahoma history. 

Joining Watts were former presidential candidate Herman Cain, and Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the Republican hopeful’s daughter. Their visit fell on the eve of Super Tuesday, in a year when Oklahoma’s Republican primary is playing a larger role than in past years in influencing the GOP nomination process. 

Watts, recently in the state to support school choice momentum told a greeter as he came off the bus, “there’s no place like home.” 

Watts spoke with CapitolBeatOK as he walked into the Reed Center for a rally that drew less than a hundred Gingrich supporters. When asked why Newt Gingrich, with whom he served in Congress, is his presidential candidate, Watts replied, “Well, when you consider what 80 percent of the American people are talking about – a balanced budget, paying down our debt, reforming our entitlements, saying we don’t need more taxes, we need taxpayers -- Newt Gingrich has ‘been there, done that.’ 

“He balanced the budget; the only time we’ve done that in my lifetime. Paid down our public debt. Reformed welfare. Got called ugly names for doing it but he stayed the course.”

Stressing his admiration for Gingrich, with whom he served in Congress, Watts continued,  “We got tax relief and regulatory reform. We created an environment that produced about 11 million new jobs. There is no other candidate in this race that can boast about that. There is no other candidate in this race that is prepared to do the heavy lifting the way Newt Gingrich is.

“I think everybody else wants to manage the decay. Newt Gingrich wants to transform Washington.”

Cain also spoke briefly with CapitolBeatOK, explaining his reason for backing Gingrich, who hopes to secure delegates in the Sooner State as a result of Tuesday’s balloting. 

Cain, former chief executive officer of Godfather’s Pizza, was wearing his well-known wide-brimmed hat as he stood in a brisk Oklahoma wind swirling around the Reed Center entrance. 

Cain said, “Newt Gingrich is my candidate, and the reason I endorsed him is number one, he is a bold leader. We don’t have easy problems in this country to solve. We’ve got tough ones and we need bold leaders, secondly, who will put bold ideas on the table. I happen to believe that his 2-5-0 plan, $2.50 gasoline, is bold.”

He continued, “The good news is he knows he can do it. He’s already put the plan on the table. … He is the only candidate who started on economic growth and job creation at the same point that I did when I was a candidate. That is, throw out the current tax code and put in a totally new structure. Newt Gingrich does the same thing. 

“When you take that boldness and put it together with his depth and breadth of experience, it was not a difficult choice for me to make in order to support him.

On Sunday, March 4, the Gingrich bus with Cain and Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie had traveled across Tennessee, making stops in Franklin, Chattanooga, and Cleveland, then reaching a major event to conclude the day.

Cain and Cushman were joined in Tulsa for an appearance Monday morning with Watts. The trio then came down the Turner Turnpike to Oklahoma City. 

According to the Gingrich campaign, Cain intended to travel back to Chattanooga, Tennessee for a final rally. Gingrich is battling to win his home state of Georgia and one or two other states in tomorrow’s balloting. 

Gingrich also visited the state on February 21.

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