Sixty-seven-year-old Newt Gingrich says he wasn’t ready to run for president four years ago, but now he’s now armed with a “new generation of ideas” and is nearly ready to announce he’s a candidate for the White House.
Gingrich rose through the ranks of the U.S. House to become its speaker in the 1990s. He says after trips to states like Iowa and New Hampshire, he finds voters are warming to the idea of a “Gingrich for President” campaign. Gingrich says his fellow Republicans need to nominate someone like him who can go toe-to-toe with President Obama in nationally televised debates in October of 2012.
“It strikes me that going up against Barack Obama is going to come down to what Margaret Thatcher used to say when she said, ‘First you win the argument, then you win the vote,’…Having somebody who philosophically and practically be on the same stage,” Gingrich says.
There are other candidates who could do that, according to Gingrich, but he says a “Gingrich versus Obama” match-up would highlight the major differences between America’s two major political parties.
One hurdle Gingrich would face if he does run for president is reassuring social conservatives who’re concerned about his marital history. Gingrich has been married three times and he addressed the issue during an appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.
“I think you tell the truth and I think you share your life’s experiences and you admit that you’ve had weaknesses and that you’ve had failures and you’ve gone to God to seek forgiveness and to seek reconciliation and then people make a decision. And they look at the totality of my life,” Gingrich said on IPTV. “I’m 67. Callista and I have a great marriage. We have two wonderful daughters. We have two grandchildren who are terrific and people have to decide, on balance, am I a person that they would respect and trust in the White House.”
Gingrich will speak Saturday at Congressman Steve King’s Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines. Four other Republicans who’ve said they may run for president will be there, too. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Godfather’s Pizza C.E.O. Herman Cain and former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton are all scheduled to speak. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has a “family medical emergency” and has cancelled his weekend visit to Iowa.