Newt Gingrich Running in 2008?

On yesterday’s “Fox News Sunday,” guest moderator Brit Hume asked former Speaker Newt Gingrich whether his new book was a launching pad for a 2008 presidential bid. Gingrich didn’t deny it. The [relevant excerpt from the] episode’s transcript is not yet posted in the extended entry.

The panel on yesterday’s “Meet the Press” also broached the subject:

MR. YORK: There is a huge battle in the conservative community. They’re basically split between two factions. There is the group led by Newt Gingrich, who may run for president, that is very, very hot for personal accounts, and they do not want to see those personal accounts tied to either benefit cuts or tax increases.

***

MR. RUSSERT: Before we go, Byron York mentioned Newt Gingrich, thinking about running for president. Professor Bob Shmulen of Notre Dame sent me a note the other day saying 2008 will be the first time in a long, long time where there will not be an incumbent president or vice president seeking the nomination of either party. How do you see 2008, Albert? Is it going to be a free-for-all?

MR. HUNT: I gave up column writing two weeks ago, but if Newt Gingrich is going to run for president, I think I want to go back. I used to get five or six great columns a year knocking Newt. I think 2008 is going to be the most wonderful contest to cover because it is so open. And I don’t think anybody could sit here and tell you with any sense of certainty even the front-runners for either party right now.

Gingrich is an interesting character but does not have the temperament to be president. Further, he has some rather substantial personal baggage that would likely doom his candidacy.


Update (1418): Transcript: Newt Gingrich on ‘FOX News Sunday’

HUME: Let me just get one thing out of the way. I notice that in the book you point that each of these prescriptions, each of these ideas enjoys, according to polls that you have researched, very large majority support.

The original Contract With America was, among other things, an election document…

GINGRICH: Yes.

HUME: … as we noted earlier. Could this become the platform for a Gingrich presidential bid?

GINGRICH: Well, we’re going to give copies of “Winning the Future” to every candidate. And so we’re happy for any of the very fine people who want to run to use the material and talk about the ideas and use them. And I think that’s the important thing.

***

HUME: Let me just get back to — you’re not ruling out — my original question was: you’re not ruling out the possibility of…

GINGRICH: I’m not ruling that out but I’m also — this book is designed for — it’s a public document.

Anyone who wants to run, I am thrilled to give them the book. I am thrilled to sit down and talk to them and tell them why we did it, why we think these issues matter. And I’m thrilled to work with them.

So I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to look ahead. We just finished a presidential election. Well, it’d be nice to talk about ideas for a few months.

Update (1-11): Via Juan Non-Volokh, I see that the speculation on this started Saturday:

Newt Gingrich Considers Presidential Run (Fox News)

Newt Gingrich is taking steps toward a potential presidential bid in 2008 with a book criticizing President Bush’s policies on Iraq and a tour of early campaign states. The former House speaker who led Republicans to power a decade ago said he soon will visit Iowa and New Hampshire to promote his book, try to influence public policy and keep his political options alive. “Anything seems possible,” including a White House race, Gingrich told the Associated Press.

The quotable and controversial former Georgia congressman, who now runs a consulting firm in Washington, is promoting, “Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America.” He seemed to welcome the thought that a book tour will increase speculation about his political aspirations. “It never hurts to maximize opportunities. That’s the American tradition,” Gingrich said. “If I can influence the reporters and political activists in Iowa and New Hampshire, they will influence the candidates.”

Asked if he might be a candidate himself, Gingrich said. “For an Army brat from Pennsylvania who became the only Georgia Republican in the House and the first Republican Speaker of the House in 40 years, anything seems possible. I don’t think it’s very likely. On the other hand, if I have an impact on public policy and do it in a way that is exciting and positive, why wouldn’t I want to do that?” Gingrich said he hopes newspapers in Iowa and New Hampshire seize on issues raised in his book. “If that means that every candidate will be hit by those questions, at a minimum I have helped shape policy,” he said. “And, at a maximum, other things might happen,” he said.

Republicans close to Gingrich said he privately has mused about potentially running for president in 2008 or beyond. These officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Gingrich would not approve of public speculation, said odds are against him seeking and winning the White House. If nothing else, they said, Gingrich understands that talk could help sell his book, which goes on sale Monday.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    But it would be fun to see Newt try to run. His ego is so big he thinks none of his personal baggage will be a drag. Would be interesting to see other Republicans tear him to shreds.

  2. McGehee says:

    DCL is right. But if he did run, he’d last at least a millisecond longer in the race than Christie Whitman, whom I expect will indeed make a run for it.

  3. Brian says:

    And as I understand it, whenever he has been asked about it, he’s definitely not squelching the rumors. What is the thought here?

    Personally I like the guy. Normally he’s got some pretty keen insights, but this must be his blind spot because the unlikelihood of his being elected is almost Hillary-esque.

  4. McGehee says:

    What is the thought here?

    He’s got a book to sell.