Gingrich Says He’d Name John Bolton as Secretary of State

By Erin McPike – December 7, 2011

Newt Gingrich told those gathered at a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington on Wednesday that if elected president next year, he will tap former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton to be his secretary of state.

“If you will accept it, I will ask John Bolton to be secretary of state,” he said to cheers during his remarks in the Ronald Reagan Building.

Bolton pondered a presidential bid of his own this cycle for more than a year because he didn’t believe any of the GOP contenders have the proper foreign policy experience. After showing up to a number of conservative confabs and toying with the idea, Bolton decided against it earlier this fall.

Gingrich, the new GOP front-runner, said he’d charge Bolton with changing the culture of the foreign service department to one with entrepreneurial spirit. And he said he wants to “liberate the intelligence community” to focus more on covert operations.

With respect to Iran, he said the only way to deal with the rogue nation’s nuclear threat is to work toward regime change. And he said it would be his goal to “overtly sabotage them every day.”

The former House speaker brought up past threats to explain his thinking. “It’s amazing to me how little people study history,” he said, channeling his earlier days as an academic. “It’s better to stop them early than to stop them late.”

And he referred to Pakistan as a “pseudo-ally” that had been clearly conspiring to hide Osama bin Laden.

Gingrich also said he would sign an executive order two hours after his inaugural address that would move the U.S Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

But in advance of that, he promised “a 50-state campaign” if he becomes the GOP nominee against President Obama.

Rick Perry, who followed Gingrich at the event with a less energetic speech, clarified comments he made last month at a CBS/National Journal debate in South Carolina.

“I am adamant that any discussion of foreign aid should start at zero,” he said, adding that while he had the crowd’s attention, he ought to clear up some confusion that resulted from his proposal: “Israel is our strategic ally,” he said. “Strategic aid to Israel under all forms will increase in a Perry administration.”

And in telling the crowd how he would change the culture in Washington, the Texas governor said, “This city is not ready for me.”

Both Perry and Gingrich took questions after their remarks. All of the major candidates save for Ron Paul spoke to the influential organization.

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at

Page Printed from: at December 08, 2011 – 07:22:10 AM PST


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