PHOENIX - First were Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, now Newt Gingrich is paying a visit to the voters of Arizona.
The Republican presidential candidate is pushing what he is calling his "21st Century Contract with America." It's a list of ways he plans to fix the country, and Arizona's SB 1070 and immigration issues made the list.
“There is something truly absurd about a federal government that refuses to control the border, refuses to do its job, and then attacks a local state," Gingrich said referring to the lawsuit the feds have against Arizona and its immigration law.
A packed room of hundreds cheered Gingrich's town hall meeting at the Radisson hotel in Downtown Phoenix.
Those in attendance were mostly a mixture of Tea Party members and Republicans. In a presidential election he can count on their votes, but what about Arizona's Latino population? Some of his policies are less than favorable to them.
"My stand is that we should have absolute control over the border," Gingrich said. "We should have English as the official language of government."
Although unlike many of his Republican counterparts, Gingrich has a positive plan for citizens here illegally. He wants to modernize the deportation laws
"[Illegal immigrants] should pay a penalty, but they should then get a Red Card which would not put them on the road for citizenship, but it would bring them in from illegality," he said. "It would make them part of the community, and their children and grandchildren could aspire to become American citizens."
Before Newt can help Arizona, he has to get elected. It could be a very difficult task considering his low poll numbers. Gingrich is one of the least favorable candidates, coming in near the bottom, although new numbers do show him gaining ground.
"I don't think I will jump ahead," said Gingrich. "I think I will walk ahead. You could take a look at my campaign and decide that my real symbol should be the tortoise."
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