Washington Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Monday urged some 2,000 Republican party loyalists to stand up for GOP principles but to be inclusive as the party tries to retake the majority.
“I am happy that Dick Cheney is a Republican,” Gingrich said at the annual Senate-House fundraising dinner. “I am also happy that Colin Powell is a Republican.”
Cheney, the former vice president under President George W. Bush, and Powell, who was Bush’s secretary of state, have feuded recently over the approach of the party, with Powell calling for more moderation and Cheney arguing against that.
Standing in as the party’s de facto leader, Gingrich was filling a speaking role that Bush held in recent years and that was initially offered to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president, this year. He headlined a series of speakers who gave the crowd a blistering review of President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.
The dinner for weeks was clouded by a will-she-or-won’t-she mystery about whether Palin would make an appearance.
The party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee left frustrated organizers hanging as late as Monday afternoon after she was told she wouldn’t have a speaking role at the event. It was the latest twist in an unusual public flap between Palin and the GOP leaders who run the fundraising committees.