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A Newt Gingrich run in 2012? Quite possible but...

October 26, 2009 |  1:14 am

No one in their right mind announces or confirms a White House run this far out.

Yes, presidential campaign announcement dates have been creeping up. In 1960, John F. Kennedy announced on Jan. 3 of election year. Bill Clinton announced the fall before election year. George W. Bush announced the summer before election year.

And Barack Obama the winter before the summer before the fall before election year. And that successful run cost $750 million in other people's money.

Why ask to be politically targeted this soon?  It's -- what? -- 1,107 days now until Nov. 6, 2012.

So C-SPAN's Mr. Excitement, Steve Scully, knew better Sunday than to ask former House Speaker Newt Gingrich whether he was going to run in the next presidential contest.

Savvy fellow that he is, Scully inquired instead what kinds of things Gingrich would think about as he contemplated that decision. (See C-SPAN video below.)

Gingrich, who engineered the stunning 1994 Republican election victories in....

... both houses of Congress with the Contract with America before quitting after some defeats four years later, walked through the thinking process. 

Callista and I are going to think about this in February 2011. And we are going to reach out to all of our friends around the country. And we'll decide, if there's a requirement as citizens that we run, I suspect we probably will. And if there's not a requirement, if other people have filled the vaccum, I suspect we won't.

Gingrich ran through a lengthy list of other possible Republican suspects, praising Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty and whats-her-name with the new book and the Nov. 16 appointment with Oprah. Gingrich said, "I have no great personal ambition needs to run for president."

Although, to be honest, he's not exactly hiding himself either, analyzing for Fox News, writing books, gathering nearly 1.14 million followers on Twitter (only 387,000 behind John McCain), giving speeches all over and rising early on an autumn Sunday to answer questions on C-SPAN from even the Democratic and Independent phone lines.

Gingrich also harkened back to the '94 Contract, saying politics needs to be about ideas -- he called them "vivid, powerful alternatives" -- not just maneuvers. "I want to see an alternate Republican Party," Gingrich said, "not an opposition Republican Party."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Video courtesy of C-SPAN
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