Newt Gingrich referenced credit cards, the Wright brothers, UPS package services and Abraham Lincoln on Thursday in Greenville, but somehow threaded those elements together for a common theme — that he, not President Barack Obama, can create a "world that works."
Gingrich, whose rise in both national and South Carolina polls has only escalated in recent weeks, was introduced by Greenville Mayor Knox White at the Global Trading Consortium near Laurens Road and Interstate 85 in Greenville.
Speaking on a platform of pragmatism, principles and values, Gingrich — perhaps using his leverage as the now established frontrunner heading into January's primary in South Carolina — induced laughter and applause while confidently using Obama and the left not as a point of vitriol, but as the butt of jokes.
Gingrich constantly used the federal government as an example of "the world that fails," and used it as a point of comparison to "the world that works," namely successful private sector endeavors.
After pointing out that shipping giants UPS and FedEx ship some 24 million packages a day and offer real-time tracking of those packages, he used it as both a dig at the federal government's failures to perform duties, as well as a lead into a punchline.
"It is a fact that we have the technology that will track packages in motion so inexpensively they allow us to do it at no extra cost," Gingrich said.
"Over here," Gingrich said on the other hand," You have the world that fails — the federal government, which cannot find 11 million people here illegally, even if they were sitting still.
"So one of my proposals is to send packages to everyone here illegally," Gingrich concluded to loud laughter.
The former Speaker, who was called "one of the transformative leaders of the latter part of the 20th century" by White, referenced Orville and Wilbur Wright early on in his remarks — illustrating the rapid progress that was made in flight and air travel that occurred after their initial flight in 1903.
Likewise, Gingrich said, Americans can use the 2012 election cycle as an instrument for increasing positive change into the future.
"I am convinced that if we unleash the American people, that we will go back to a generation of progress," Gingrich said.
Gingrich also referenced credit card companies' efficiency in the private sector against fraud as compared to the federal government's inability to prevent medicaid and medicare fraud, saying that a taxpayer is more than 300 percent more likely to fund medicare and medicaid fraud than a cardholder is likely to pay through identify theft.
Gingrich labeled the outcry from some over recent comments about letting children work as "liberal hysteria," saying he merely advocates for allowing children to do small, less labor-intensive jobs in school settings to instill responsibility and appreciation for an earned wage early in their formative years.
Gingrich, whose campaign was polling at a mere three percent earlier in the race, looked ahead to a potential nomination on Thursday, as he again challenged Obama to a series of three-hour, unmoderated debates in the legacy of Abraham Lincoln.
If he's nominated by the Republican Party, he added, the White House would become their daily planner. Just as Lincoln followed up Stephen Douglas's appearances to force his hand at taking part in the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates, Gingrich said he will shadow Obama.
"Wherever he (Obama) goes, I will show up four hours later," Gingrich said.
Gingrich, perhaps sensing the momentum his campaign has gained in its rapid rise, said he wanted to have a broad coalition that extended beyond Republicans, and even hit upon a populist note during his remarks, where he said the federal government owed poor South Carolinians and Americans the opportunity to migrate into successful employment.
"We're going to go into every precinct of every background in this country, every precinct in South Carolina, and we're going to say, very straightforward, 'would your rather your children have food stamps or pay checks?"
"This is going to be an American campaign," he added.
"If you agree that we ought to be in the world that works, not in the world that fails, you're with us. If you agree that we should have paychecks and not food stamps, you're with us.
"This will be a broader coalition than anything you've seen in your lifetime."