Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich discussed many of the problems facing the nation at the Blowout for the Texas Energy Museum in Beaumont on March 10.

The Obama administration's new budget and tax plan will be bad for the Texas energy business, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told local media Tuesday.

The former Republican lawmaker gave a 10-minute news briefing before speaking at the annual Blowout fundraiser for the Texas Energy Museum in Beaumont.

Due to contract obligations, news coverage of his full March 10 talk at the Beaumont Civic Center was not allowed.

Gingrich told reporters that President Barack Obama has submitted a budget that discourages oil and gas development and exploration and is anti-independent operator. It also includes a $1,300 per family energy tax that he said will hurt families.

He discussed the overall problems facing the country right now, including the economic downturn.

"We have not had an economic problem of this size in 80 years, and I think we have to start by confronting that." Gingrich said. "Nobody alive today -- I mean, certainly, nobody who was an adult in 1929 -- is around to advise us on what to do. And the fact is, Herbert Hoover didn't handle the beginning of the Depression very well, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn't handle the rest of the depression very well. We still had 15 percent unemployment in 1939."

He said leaders should be focused on three things:"jobs, jobs, jobs."

Gingrich defended the Republican Party, which faces a Democrat in the White House and a Democrat-controlled Congress. The party has many strong leaders in its midst, he said, that can unite the party.

"If the Republican Party quits worrying about the Republican Party, from the chairman down, and focuses on what America needs, we'll do fine," Gingrich said.

When asked by a reporter if he had plans to run for president in 2012, Gingrich said his only plan was to focus on the crisis at hand.

"I want to spend all of 2009 trying to defeat bad policies, like the effort to take away your right to a secret ballot before being forced to join a union," he said.

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