former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who gave the dinner speech Thursday.
"We have to act independently of the White House. You do not serve the president, you serve with the president," Mr. Gingrich said, according to a Republican present at the dinner, which was closed to the press.
"Newt blew the group away,"
said another Republican who attended the dinner.
"He is on such a different intellectual plane. "