Monday, November 20, 2006

Bombshell Gingrich Interview

Fortune Magazine has a must-read interview with Newt Gingrich. In it, Newt gives us an unfiltered look at the process he is using to decide whether or not he will run for president in 2008. Gingrich says that he is planning on building a grassroots effort to generate powerful right-wing conservative support withing the GOP, basically catapulting him into the race without much effort from himself. He will start a fundraising 527 PAC, however, beginning in December.

The radical realist who defied conventional wisdom 12 years ago by stealing the House out from under the noses of entrenched Democrats now plans a surprise attack for the presidency. "I'm going to tell you something, and whether or not it's plausible given the world you come out of is your problem," he tells Fortune. "I am not 'running' for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen." So he's running, only without yet formally saying so.

While other potential competitors like Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney build staff and hire consultants, Gingrich revealed to Fortune that he plans to create a draft-Newt "wave" by building grassroots support for his health care, national security and energy independence ideas - all of which he has been peddling to corporate audiences over the past six years. "Nice people," Gingrich says of his GOP competitors. "But we're not in the same business. They're running for president. I'm running to change the country."

In December, Gingrich will launch a 527 group, called "American Solutions for Winning the Future," that will enable him to raise and spend unlimited money on behalf of this effort. In January, he will conduct a strategy meeting with advisers. By next fall, he'll decide whether to make a bid official - a late start by any recent historical standard.

So Gingrich has basically been toying with us all along. He is running in '08 - but doesn't want to commit himself to a big-time campaign like the McCain's and Giuliani's just yet. He's smart - he sees the polls placing him 3rd or 4th. He won't let himself get embarrassed. But will his low profile campaign really get him anywhere?


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