The Washington Post

Gingrich at CPAC: GOP ‘must stop being the opposition movement’

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 8, 2014. Saturday marks the third and final day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which brings together prospective presidential candidates, conservative opinion leaders and tea party activists from coast to coast. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

In the opening speech of the final day of CPAC 2014, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on Republicans to position themselves as the party of innovative solutions if they want to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Implying the inevitability of a Clinton candidacy on the Democratic side, Gingrich said: "We want to make sure that doesn’t happen. To make sure that doesn't happen, we must stop being the opposition movement and start being the alternative government movement."

Gingrich echoed comments by several other CPAC speakers, calling on Republicans to lay out small-government solutions to the country's social and economic problems rather than continuing to run on platforms that focus solely on opposing the policies of President Obama.

The former presidential candidate criticized the domestic and foreign policies of Obama, but focused primarily on the GOP's need to brand itself as a party of ideas.

"We can offer a dramatically better future, because we can be in favor of the dramatic changes that can improve people’s lives," Gingrich said. "This is a fight between the future and the past and we truly represent to the average American the better future."

If the Republicans do that, Gingrich said, the GOP will position itself to take back the White House for the foreseeable future.

"We will win decisively and we will govern for two generations," he declared.

Wesley Lowery is a national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for the Washington Post. He previously covered Congress and national politics.

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