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Newt Gingrich warns of Obama’s ‘desperate frenzy’ in final month

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is among the loudest Republican voices warning of a rush of big decisions from outgoing President Barack Obama’s administration that could be difficult for Donald Trump to undo.

Gingrich told Fox News he expects a “desperate frenzy” from the Democrat, who in the last few days has banned oil drilling in vast tracts of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, dismantled a dormant national registry for visitors from countries with active terror groups and issued the most pardons in a single day in U.S. history.

“His legacy is like one of those dolls that, as the air comes out of it, shrinks and shrink and shrinks,” Gingrich said, predicting that the “things he’s done this week will be turned around” by Trump.

“I think in the opening couple days, he’s going to repeal 60 to 70 percent of Obama’s legacy by simply vetoing out all of the various executive orders that Obama used because he couldn’t get anything through Congress,” Gingrich added.

Trump can indeed nullify or override many of Obama’s executive orders and he can order agencies not to enforce certain regulations. And a Republican-controlled Congress can pass laws undoing other Obama legacies. But some of Obama’s hallmarks – namely the Affordable Care Act and environmental changes deeply rooted in U.S. law – will be harder for him to untangle.

Meanwhile, Democrats are pushing for more. Some groups are calling for a new wave of pardons and commutations, while others want a flurry of new regulations working their way through the policy pipeline enacted.

Other Obama supporters want him to make another landmark foreign policy statement before he hands over the presidency on Jan. 20. Obama already made a stir when he ordered the U.S. to abstain from a United Nations resolution that was critical of Israel. Former President Jimmy Carter urged him to make his final act recognizing a Palestinian state.

“This is the best — now, perhaps, the only — means of countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself and the Palestinian people,” Carter wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “Recognition of Palestine and a new Security Council resolution are not radical new measures, but a natural outgrowth of America’s support for a two-state solution.”

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.