Gingrich Says 2008 Bid Depends on Rivals

Associated Press
Monday, December 18, 2006

Newt Gingrich suggested yesterday that he might not run for president in 2008 if a rival has all but locked up the Republican nomination by next fall.

The former House speaker from Georgia said it would not be too late for him to enter the race after Labor Day 2007, if he thinks that no candidate has a clear advantage. He cited Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani as the contenders to watch.

"If one of them seals it off by Labor Day, my announcing now wouldn't make any difference anyway," he said. "If none of the three, having from now till Labor Day, can seal it off, the first real vote is in 2008. And there's plenty of time in the age of television and e-mail between Labor Day and 2008."

The nominee will be picked at the party convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul in early September 2008.

Gingrich noted that John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan each announced his candidacy less than a year before an election. Kennedy confirmed he was running Jan. 2, 1960. Reagan did so for the first time Nov. 20, 1975, when he did not win the nomination, and again Nov. 13, 1979, and Jan. 29, 1984 -- both times capturing the White House.

"Of course I'm thinking about it," Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I hope between now and September to help create with every candidate in both parties a wave of new ideas, a wave of new solutions."

Gingrich said that in early January he will write to the heads of the state Democratic and Republican parties in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, where there are early nominating contests, to recommend they hold bipartisan debates and other forums.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy reaffirmed yesterday that he will support John F. Kerry, a fellow senator from Massachusetts and the 2004 presidential nominee, if Kerry were to run in 2008.

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