Gingrich speaks to Republicans in Burlingame


His decision to visit the Bay Area underscores the fact that he is a distant third in the GOP presidential campaign. Frontrunners Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are focused on Michigan. The latest Gallup tracking poll shows they are in a dead heat with 31 and 30 percent respectively. Gingrich has 16 percent.

California's Republican primary will not take place until June, well after "Super Tuesday" when the GOP field could be narrowed considerably. Newt Gingrich and the state GOP are betting California will still be in play a few months from now.

Trailing in the polls and the GOP primary contest, Gingrich was still a crowd-pleaser at the California Republican Party Convention in Burlingame. His main target was President Obama. "What's truly dangerous about him isn't what he doesn't know. It's what he knows that isn't true. He believes in small cars. He believes in an anti-American energy policy. He believes in high prices. He believes in government control," he said.

The former house speaker zeroed in on rising gasoline prices and called for drilling more oil. "The long term answer is not the U.S, Navy guarding the Straits of Hormuth. The long term answer is Americans producing their own energy and telling other people, 'You many have a problem. We don't," because we can be the largest oil producer in the world by the end of this decade."

Gingrich received endorsements from Michael Reagan, a son of the former president, and Herman Cain, who dropped out of the presidential race last year."Stupid people are ruining America. And, every time you hear about President Obama's job approval rating being at least 45 percent, that's where the stupid people are," Cain told convention attendees.

Gingrich's campaign staff worked hard Saturday to block reporters from asking their candidate any questions and Gingrich himself avoided any dealings with the media.

Republican voter Billie Guttman of San Rafael says she was impressed with Gingrich. "I would vote for him. I will vote for any Republican, whichever our Republican nominee is, but I would vote for Newt," she said.

Supporters of other candidates were also present, but not the candidates themselves. There was no Romney, no Santorum, and no Ron Paul invitations were sent out, but those candidates decided to concentrate elsewhere. Some of the GOP faithful at the convention said they would have preferred to also hear from the other contenders as well.

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