Newt Gingrich Launches 2012 Presidential Bid
Newt Gingrich is officially running for president. The former Speaker of the House, who had all but formally declared his intentions to run, made the announcement on Wednesday.
"I'm Newt Gingrich, and I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the United States because I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity, to full employment, to real security, to an American energy program, to a balanced budget," Gingrich said in his announcement video.
Gingrich also made the announcement via Twitter, telling his followers: "Today I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. You can watch my announcement here." The tweet concluded with a link to his announcement video.
In the two-minute long video, Gingrich outlines his past political accomplishments.
"I worked with President Ronald Reagan in a very difficult period," he said. "We got jobs created again, Americans proud of America, and the Soviet Union disappeared." During his tenure as Speaker of the House, Gingrich continues, he worked to keep government spending under control, cut taxes, reduce unemployment and balance the budget. "We've done it before," he said. "We can do it again."
The 67-year-old Gingrich already has the backing of major political figures from his home state of Georgia, including current Gov. Nathan Deal, former Gov. Sonny Perdue Gov. and four members of the state's congressional delegation.
The announcement by the former House Speaker and Georgia congressman has been in the works for some time. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported: "Gingrich's announcement comes after a few awkward fits and starts to his bid. In March, national media arrived in Atlanta when Gingrich met privately with Deal. It was expected that Gingrich would announce his campaign from Deal's Capitol office, but instead, he said he was only exploring a bid. Monday, Gingrich told his Twitter and Facebook followers that he would speak to Sean Hannity on Wednesday about "my run" for the White House, but his spokesman said that was not an official announcement."
Last week, Gingrich chose Republican strategist Rob Johnson to manage his campaign. He also opened up headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Previously, Gingrich had formed a presidential exploratory candidate back in March. An exploratory committee allows a candidate to begin fundraising, and is often viewed as the first step toward a campaign.
Despite lackluster poll numbers, Gingrich formally enters the race as one of the most widely recognized Republicans in the GOP presidential field. Gingrich also has another key advantage over his rivals. Politico reported: "Gingrich already sports a significant fundraising apparatus to call upon, built during years of stewardship over a variety of businesses, nonprofits and policy shops. His nonprofit group American Solutions for Winning the Future has raised millions of dollars, and while none of it can be used for a presidential campaign, the group has compiled a massive donor email list that could be rented by the campaign."
However, there are some concerns that past political baggage and controversy could bring him down. As The Sacramento Bee reported:
The public largely blamed Gingrich for the federal government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 over budget fights with the White House.
And Gingrich was widely mocked for his petulance when he complained of his seat placement aboard Air Force One.
Then too, Gingrich resigned from Congress under an ethics cloud: The House reprimanded him in 1997 and ordered him to pay $30,000 for failing to ensure that financing for two projects he was involved in didn't violate federal tax law and for giving false information to the House Ethics Committee.
Last but not least, many voters of all stripes found Gingrich hypocritical for leading Clinton's impeachment for lying about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, while Gingrich himself was having a secret affair with a staff aide, his current wife, Callista, whom he married after his second divorce.
Gingrich was first elected to Congress in 1978. He became Speaker when Republicans retook the House in 1994. In 1998, he resigned his House seat and the speakership following Republican losses in the midterm elections.