Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich on Wednesday blasted a budget address by President Barack Obama calling it a job-killer and not a serious proposal.
The former U.S. House speaker, in Atlanta scooping up money for his likely White House bid, told The Associated Press that Obama's new proposal to couple spending cuts with tax hikes on the wealthy was "a job-killing big-government defending avoidance of responsibility."
"To propose some $2 trillion worth of tax increases in an economy such as this is to claim the Herbert Hoover award," Gingrich said. Hoover was president when the Great Depression began.
Gingrich accused Obama, his potential rival in 2012, of an "absence of seriousness."
And he said Obama's decision to focus on Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal made the Democratic president look weak.
"It was as if Ryan was the president and he was a desperate challenger," Gingrich told The AP
Wednesday night's fundraiser was hosted by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and two former governors _ Republican Sonny Perdue and Democrat Zell Miller. Only Deal was on hand at the upscale Atlanta hotel.
Miller sent along his grandson, Bryan Miller. The Gingrich camp has said Miller, who's been vocal in his support of Republican candidates in recent years, will serve as a national co-chairman of a Gingrich presidential campaign.
Gingrich, a former congressman from Georgia, has not lived in the state for more than a decade. But he's been stressing his Georgia roots as he tries to mount a "favorite son" candidacy in the state and he expects to open an Atlanta campaign headquarters.
Supporters paid $2,500 to attend a cocktail party Wednesday night which included a photo with Gingrich. A donation of $1,000 brought entrance to a reception. Chairmen agreed to raise $50,000 for Gingrich's presidential effort.
Among the co-chairmen for the fundraiser was Dee Yancey. Donations from Yancey's insurance companies to John Oxendine, a failed 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate, became the focus of a state ethics commission probe last year. Co-chairmen agreed to raise $25,000 for Gingrich
Gingrich is testing the waters for a White House bid but has said he expects he will run. He expects to announce a decision in early May.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and ex-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty have launched exploratory committees for the 2012 race.
Newt Gingrich: http://www.newtexplore.com