Day one at ‘Newt U’: Bashing Obama, but with a smile

TAMPA, Fla. – Newt Gingrich kicked off his week-long “Newt University” at the Republican National Convention here Monday with a session on the evils of the economy and the healthcare law that President Obama has presided over.

A day after accusing Obama of being “uniquely, deeply committed to the killing of unborn children” because of his abortion stand, former House Speaker Gingrich told his students at Newt U they should be “cheerful and positive and relentlessly persistent” in campaigning to remove the Democrat from office.

PHOTOS: Preparations for the GOP convention

The class was the first in four days of presentations at hotels around the convention city focused on the economy and healthcare. Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin addressed a banquet room crowd of about 150—roughly a third of them with the media—in the interest of waging what Gingrich promised would be a “fact-based campaign.”

Perhaps the most punishing shot delivered by Gingrich came not in his extended remarks — interspersed between other speakers through the morning — but when he showed a diagram of “the Obama Jobs Depression.” While the job recovery lines on the chart marking other presidential administrations curved happily upward after a time, the red trend line for Obama remained stubbornly on the down low.

A couple of speakers, including John C. Goodman of the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis, focused sharply on Obama’s healthcare law. Goodman said that care would become more difficult for most people to get when 30 million more people got insurance under Obamacare, because the increase in demand will not be met by an increased supply of doctors.

“People are not going to be able to see doctors when they want to see them. We are going to have longer waits,” Goodman said. A screen projection during the remarks declared: “Scientific Evidence Proves Obama’s Cuts to Medicare are Deadly.”

CNBC television host Larry Kudlow, who said he was an “old friend” of Gingrich, spoke more broadly about the economy and declared that the stimulus spending approved by Obama and also under President George W. Bushhad proven a failure.

“If it was going to work, it already would have worked,” Kudlow said to applause, in arguing for a return to the supply-side economics of the Reagan era.

The Newt University session on Tuesday was scheduled to focus on small business (under the title “We Built It”), on Wednesday on energy development (“We Can Change It”), and on Thursday, again, on healthcare reform (“We Believe in America.”)

In addition to those in the room, Gingrich said that about a thousand others had signed up to watch the sessions online.

PHOTOS: The protests of the GOP convention

Mary Rose Spano, an alternate delegate from Pennsylvania, said she came to the morning session because she sees Gingrich as a man of ideas. Asked what new ones she had learned in the morning session, Spano said, “Well, I haven’t been here that long. But Newt has really good ideas. He can really express himself. I mean, he was the speaker, you know.”

Follow Politics Now on Twitter and Facebook

Twitter: @latimesrainey