Saturday, June 10, 2006

Gingrich May Run For President In 2008

A formidable former lawmaker is considering entering the race for president in 2008.

He would bring up the level of the field on the Republican side substantially.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) expects to run for president in 2008 if the contest for the Republican nomination still seems wide open late next year, he said yesterday.

In remarks that were critical of both parties' recent performance, Gingrich told a luncheon group of scholars and reporters at the Brookings Institution that he will make a decision in the fall of 2007 about running...

Gingrich's entry would shake up a Republican presidential field that now includes Sens. George Allen (Va.), Bill Frist (Tenn.) and John McCain (Ariz.). Many Republicans still revere Gingrich for engineering the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994, though members of his own party pushed him to resign in 1998 after his drive to impeach President Bill Clinton cost them seats in that year's election.

The push for impeachment doubtlessly was a low point in his career.

When Americans look at the current roster of Republican and Democratic leaders, Gingrich said, they face an unappealing dilemma.

"We have a choice between those who are failing to deliver and those who are unthinkable," he said, adding that he would put "even money" on the Democrats taking back the House this fall. "Neither party currently is where the country is."

Gingrich also took a parting shot at Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), who retired from Congress this week after two of his top aides and a close associate, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Although DeLay embraced the nickname "The Hammer" while serving as both majority whip and majority leader, Gingrich said he favors a more tolerant form of leadership.

"The Gingrich model of an idea-led, contentious majority . . . is a lot better than a model of 'The Hammer.' A hammer is a relatively dumb symbol," he said, adding that now that DeLay is gone, "the House will become healthier with every passing week. You'll see an emergence of an idea-led Republican majority. The question is whether they'll do it fast enough to save the majority."

With electronic voting skullduggery always at the ready for the GOP, Gingrich need not worry overmuch about the Democrats taking the House (or Senate for that matter).

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