Republicans predict November gains, blast Obama

By Steve Holland

NEW ORLEANS (BestGrowthStock) – Republicans boldly predicted gains in November congressional elections on Thursday and rallied loyalists with sharp criticism of President Barack Obama over issues from healthcare to foreign policy.

Liz Cheney, a rising Republican star who is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, led the charge at the opening session of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, a four-day pep rally in New Orleans that comes as the party tries to recover from election losses in 2006 and 2008.

Emboldened by more recent election victories in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, Republicans believe they are on a track to make big inroads into strong Democratic majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives in November.

“I have no question” the outcome in November will be a resounding message to Obama, Cheney said. The message: “Stop damaging this nation, and start listening to the American people.”

She called the Democrats’ healthcare overhaul “probably the most arrogant power play in American history” and ridiculed Obama for his handling of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Obama pressed Karzai to end corruption in the Afghan government during a visit to Kabul last weekend and has been pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to constrain settlement activity.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke of stopping the “socialist machine” of the “most radical” U.S. president ever.

“When we win control of the House and the Senate this fall, stage one of the end of Obama will be a new Republican Congress in January that simply refuses to fund” Obama’s policies, Gingrich said.

The rhetorical red meat fired up hundreds of Republicans who are in search of a candidate to face Obama’s re-election bid in 2012.

IN SEARCH OF A POSITIVE MESSAGE

But in their drive for election victories, there are concerns among many in the party, including Gingrich, that candidates need to have a positive agenda on which to run, rather than simply rejecting Obama’s policies.

“To win in 2010 and 2012, it’s not enough to say no” to the agenda of Obama’s Democrats, said Gingrich, who led the 1994 Republican takeover of the House and who in recent years has flirted with a presidential run but always shied away.

Gingrich said he would probably decide next February whether to run for president in 2012.

Republicans, he said, must offer “a compelling vision of safety, prosperity and freedom that stands in vivid contrast to Obama’s secular, socialist, machine now running Washington.”

While they are poised for gains in November, Republicans have no clue as to who among them will rise to challenge Obama’s expected re-election in two years.

There is no obvious standard-bearer and the New Orleans conference is attracting a number of potential candidates.

The headline speaker on Friday is Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee and former governor of Alaska, who is hugely popular among the party’s conservative base.

Also speaking are other leading Republican lights, and possible candidates, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

Not attending are Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who is expected to address the group by video, and Mitt Romney, who lost the Republican nomination to John McCain in 2008. Both had scheduling conflicts.

Attendees will conduct a straw poll of who they like in 2012 and its results will be made known Saturday. Its significance is uncertain, since then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist won the poll in 2006. His presidential campaign never got off the ground.

Penny Stocks

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

Republicans predict November gains, blast Obama