(CNN) — President Barack Obama took some flak for traveling to Florida for a getaway with his family amid the crisis in Ukraine. But Newt Gingrich jokingly told conservatives on Saturday not to worry: Obama can be ineffective no matter where he is.
"The President spent all of last week proving he was capable of being ineffective. I believe he can be as ineffective in Key Largo as he was in the White House," he said to laughter and big applause at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington in Maryland.
The co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" and former House speaker spoke about innovation and politics, advocating a "big rebellion" on the "battlefield of ideas."
In a speech that ranged from Alexander Graham Bell to the smart phone, Gingrich argued that the GOP must become the party of the future instead of the party of opposition.
"We must stop being the opposition movement, and we must become the alternative government movement that will help make the life of every American better so that they understand what we would do that would be right, not just what the left is doing that is wrong," he said.
A big part of that is moving past criticizing Obama and introducing new ideas, he argued.
"If our movement is primarily anti-Obama, we will in fact reduce the number of victories we should win this fall. If we spend the next three years being anti-Hillary, we will virtually guarantee her election," he said.
The former secretary of state is the current front-runner for the Democratic nomination, according to polls, although she has yet to say whether she'll run for the White House.
Still, Gingrich, who mounted a Republican presidential campaign in 2012, went after Clinton, openly trying to paint her as part of the old guard who block a better future for average Americans.
"What I'm trying to do is set up a conversation in America among everybody on our side so that by 2016, Hillary Clinton is the leading prison guard of the past, propping up every failed bureaucratic institution in America," he said.