Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on the nation to "renew the spirit of Philadelphia" Thursday during a luncheon appearance at the Union League in Center City, later telling reporters to scrutinize social media next week for word of his presidential intentions.
"I would just say to folks who are really curious: watch Facebook and Twitter in the next week," Gingrich said after the event. "I think you'll have all the information you need."
In his speech, Gingrich said that the nation has strayed from the core principle embodied in the Declaration of Independence that individuals are "endowed by their creator" with rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, drifting toward a more statist view of government.
"I believe we have to have a great American debate about whether we are still Americans," Gingrich said, arguing that government cannot provide happiness. "There's no provision for a federal department of happiness, no provision of happiness stamps for the under-happy," he said.
He said he believes that unemployment insurance should be replaced with a program that requires job training and re-training for those who are out of work, coordinated with and provided by businesses that are looking to hire.
The former speaker, who has been considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, received the Lincoln Award from the Union League, which the club gives to leaders who it believes embody American values.