Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Newt hints at run in National Journal interview

In a recent interview with National Journal, Newt Gingrich said that 2012 "is different" than either 1996 or 2008, the two other times his name came up in presidential speculation.

How realistic a run in '96, right after he became the Speaker, was is in doubt. It was bandied about in some circles, including by Bill Kristol in the Weekly Standard, and somewhat considered by Gingrich himself, but it never got close to happening. "I knew in '96 that it was hopeless. You couldn't have taken over the House for the first time in 40 years, be in a middle of fairly profound series of reforms, and cheerfully go off to run for president. It's not physically doable, it's absurd."

But leading up to the 2008 race, he thought about it more seriously, but once again a new venture played a part in him turning down the opportunity. He had just started American Solutions for Winning the Future, an issues-based 527 that is non-partisan, in late 2006 and did not want to abandon it. He also realized just how bad the environment was for Republicans, though he and American Solutions -- through the Drilll Here, Drill Now, Pay Less petition did a lot to change that, bringing the GOP in the lead in polls before the financial crisis hit.

"I would have been so critical of the Republican policies that other than William Jennings Bryan in 1896, I couldn't imagine a circumstance where it made sense to. I was very acutely aware of how hard '08 was going to be and how likely it was that we were going to lose. '12 is different."

James Barnes writes, "One sign that Gingrich may be more serious about a presidential run in '12 than he was in the past is his recognition that in order to capture the GOP nomination he cannot get into the race late, as he thought he could in '08."

"One of the things I learned was that you have to start much earlier than I thought you did," said Gingrich. "It's just an objective reality of the way the modern system works." Back in 2007, he dismissed the idea of having to start a campaign early, waiting until September 29th to decide. That fact he has been talking for months about deciding in February or March of 2011 is a good a sign as any he may very well be very serious about running.

Barnes continued:
As he reflected on the arguments of a potential campaign, Gingrich mused, "I think that the three questions are: who are we [as a country], what do we have to do to compete successfully with China and India, and what threatens us and how do we stay safe?" If a GOPer could effectively organize a campaign around those themes, Gingrich said, "You'd be a [Ronald] Reagan or bigger majority coming together to say, 'Yep, that's the direction I want to go in."

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