The following is a transcript of a press conference on March 3, 2011 at the Georgia State Capitol with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich where he discusses an initiative to reduce the size of the federal government by creating a 'Tenth Amendment Implementation Act' and his plan to explore a possible presidential run in 2012.
GINGRICH: Let me just say that Callista and I are very honored to have had a chance to meet. We know how busy the legislature is right now and to be able to work with the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker on really rethinking the Tenth Amendment and its application in the modern era.
I want to stay focused on that and I'll take questions. Let me briefly explain that and after I'm done with the Tenth Amendment I know a number of you may have come for a secondary topic.
But I think it's important to recognize we're here today when Georgia's unemployment rate at 10.4 percent is a modern high for unemployment. We're here at a time when the problems in the Middle East could lead to a catastrophic increase in the cost of oil with impact for gasoline, for heating fuel, for diesel in a way which would further cripple our economy.
And so I think there are powerful economic questions, powerful energy questions, and powerful questions about the shape and size of government and the spending of government. And if we're going to get America back to work. If we're going to ensure that Americans can get adequate energy, and if we're going to ensure the constitutional balance is reestablished between Washington and the rest of the country, there's a lot of work to do.
The specific reason for the meeting today is a project that American Solutions has been working on which is to reach out, and I'm very grateful that the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker have all agreed to be major participants in this.
We want to reach out to all 50 states. We want to identify those aspects of the federal government that should returned to the states and the people thereof, which is what the Tenth Amendment calls for. We want to develop that into a Tenth Amendment Implementation Act. And we want to be able to get the country to understand why having a central bureaucracy in Washington that costs too much, regulates too much, litigates too much, interferes too much is a major hindrance to job creation and a major hindrance in a healthy American economy. And to do that we don't just want to have an ideological, philosophical, theoretical discussion.
We want to actually, based on the experiences I had passing welfare reform, passing the balanced budget which for four years paid off over $400 billion in debt, passing the first tax cut in 16 years.
I know that in the end, it has to come down to real legislative language and really specific decisions, so having people as talented as the three gentlemen here, who are leaders in Georgia, help us reach out to other states, to their counterparts and - this may well take a year or more - but designing a really sophisticated, doable tenth amendment is very, very important. It's something that Callista and I believe in and [unintelligible].
So I'll be glad to take any questions you have with regard to the Tenth Amendment before we get to the other topic I know you're here for. If anyone has any questions.
GINGRICH: [Laughter] Why don't you go to the other topic? I did the best I could to get to a substantive policy oriented moment here.
Q: Will you be running for president?
GINGRICH: Well, as you will remember, for over a year, Callista and I said we would reach a decision about the end of February or the beginning of March.
We believe that America's best years are actually ahead of us.
We believe that it is possible through the right policies, with the right values to create dramatically more jobs with dramatically higher incomes.
We believe that it is possible to reestablish American exceptionalism as the core value of this country that has made us so unique and has attracted people from all over the world.
We believe it is possible to dramatically shrink government in Washington, to get back to a balanced budget and to create the kind of economy that draws back from 9.6 or more percent unemployment down to 4 percent unemployment which is the first and biggest step to get back to a balanced budget.
We also believe that it is possible to reach out and insure by rethinking cultural values, institutions and policies in the poorest parts of America so that every American has their Creator-endowed right to pursue happiness as a reality not just a false promise.
And finally, we believe it is possible to strengthen and to think through homeland and national security in a way that will make Americans dramatically safer and will extend us our abilities and because of that and because of our concern for the future of the country, our concern for our grandchildren and all of the children of this country who are faced with, I think, a very dramatic of which future we're going to have.
We are today establishing a website. NewtExplore2012.com. That website is up, I think as of an hour ago.
We will look at this very seriously and we will very methodically lay out the framework of what we'll do next and we think that the key is to have citizens who understand this is going to take a lot of us for a long time working together.
And that's why we felt it's very important with the Tenth Amendment to get power back home. So the people here -- we'll be back. There'll be many more chances to have conversations. I simply want to give you that and I think you will have more than enough to write about in the near future. Thank you all very very much.