Less than three months after Newt Gingrich left office under immense pressure in January 1999, the American Enterprise Institute announced the beleaguered former House speaker would join the think tank as a senior fellow where he would “conduct research and write about several top-priority domestic and security policy issues.”

AEI’s president at the time Christopher DeMuth said Gingrich possessed “innovative policy thinking with astute political judgment—a rare combination that is exactly what is required to move beyond the current impasses in health care and other urgent areas of policy reform.”

“My colleagues and I are delighted that a man of Newt Gingrich’s intellect, energy, and accomplishment should be joining our ranks,” said AEI President Christopher DeMuth in announcing the appointment on March 22. “He has many warm friends and admirers at AEI, and we are looking forward with great enthusiasm to working with him. Mr. Gingrich is renowned for combining innovative policy thinking with astute political judgment—a rare combination that is exactly what is required to move beyond the current impasses in health care and other urgent areas of policy reform.”

Mr. Gingrich’s initial project will address health and health care. “The main focus of my work at AEI,” he explained, “will be to develop an information-age model for health, wellness, and health care within the rapidly changing world of communications, evolving information technologies, and biological discovery. The increase in access to information in real time through the evolution of the Internet will enable health care services to be dramatically more centered around the patient as the customer. The goal of this project will be to use information and increased personal responsibility and decision-making to empower individual patient-customers in a way that will create opportunities for better health at lower cost with greater patient satisfaction.”

Some former and current AEI personnel point out that little research and writing came out of Gingrich during his tenure at AEI, saying he prioritized his money-making ventures over his think tank appointment. Nonetheless, Gingrich remained at AEI until he announced his candidacy for president earlier this year. So far, AEI is unwilling to say whether or not Newt will be welcome back after his presidential bid.