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March 2, 2011
Newt first to the starting line for 2012
There is a body of opinion that believes Newt Gingrich isn't really running for president; he is only concerned about boosting the fees he can charge for speaking and promote his other causes.
This may be true, but if it is, Gingrich is doing a good imitation of a serious candidate. According to ABC News, he will announce the formation of an exploratory committee on Thursday in Atlanta:
Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler would only say that the former speaker will make an announcement by the end of the week on forming a presidential exploratory committee. But friends of Gingrich say he has already made up his mind. Gingrich's travel schedule is already looking like that of a presidential candidate. He will be in Iowa on Mar. 7 and ABC News has learned he will in New Hampshire Mar. 17. I think Gingrich looks at it like this; he's 67 years old, Obama is vulnerable to the right kind of Republican, and no other candidate has broken free. He can raise gobs of money, is telegenic, has an organization already in place, and has generated some excitement in some conservative circles.
Gingrich's advisors say his campaign will have a "major presence" in Georgia, which Gingrich represented in Congress for 19 years, though they have not decided yet where his campaign headquarters will be. Gingrich has lived in northern Virginia for years.
He has been preparing and talking openly about a possible run for months.
"2010 was the appetizer. 2012 is the entrée," Gingrich told an enthusiastic crowd at CPAC earlier this month. He will instantly be a force. He's tireless, full of ideas and one of the most well-known Republicans in the country. Nearly two decades ago, Gingrich led the last Republican revolution, drafting the "Contract with America" that swept House Republicans into power in 1994.
Why not run this time around? It may be a swan song for the public career of one of America's brightest - but most maddening - political figures. But he will go out fighting for his beliefs and causes.