Gingrich reaches out to younger voters while campaigning in Macon

lbibb@macon.comMarch 2, 2012 

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich appealed to a younger audience Thursday when he spoke with several Mercer University students in an interview for campus media outlets.

Gingrich talked about the positive impact some of his policies can have on young voters.

One program in particular that he thinks college students will find attractive is the personal retirement account system he would set up if he becomes president. Under the proposal, Americans could voluntarily set up a Social Security account. Part of their payroll tax that historically goes to fund the Social Security system could go into a private account.

“It helps save Social Security the right way, which is by moving to a savings-and-investment model rather than having politicians in charge of your life,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich also spoke of his concern for current college students. Since most college professors are liberal, he said, an education ends up being mostly propaganda.

“There is a significant degree to which the things people are taught in college aren’t true,” he said.

As president of the United States, Gingrich said, he would not attempt to “fix” the problem of liberal college professors. He said he would simply point the problem out and hope people would fix it themselves.

When asked what his campaign is doing to reach out to young voters, Gingrich first cited the $2.50 gasoline that would be available under his energy plan.

Second, Gingrich said he has a very aggressive jobs program that should attract college students.

“You’re not going to pay off your student loans if you don’t get work,” he said. “I’m trying to find a way that every young person can have a job.”

Finally, the issue of Islamic radicalism is incredibly important to a younger generation, Gingrich said.

“It’s your generation’s issue,” he said. “You’re the ones who are going to be at the risk of getting killed.”

Gingrich also said some of his policies can appeal to Democrats.

“I think you’ll find a lot of Democrats in Macon who will think $2.50 per gallon gasoline is worth voting for,” he said. “You can probably find a lot of Democrats among students who think having their own personal Social Security account will be a lot better future than the current system.”

The former U.S. speaker of the House said he thinks time spent in Georgia is beneficial to his campaign.

“The No. 1 concern is carrying your home state, as Gov. Romney found out in Michigan,” he said. “I’m here campaigning for four straight days because this is important.”

Gingrich said he thinks he will do better in Georgia than he did in Michigan, where he took a fourth-place finish with only 6.5 percent of the vote.

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