Report: Gingrich will form exploratory committee for 2012

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) will form an exploratory committee for president within the next 10 days, according to a report.

Gingrich will announce the formation of an exploratory committee on March 8 in his native Georgia, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Saturday evening.

"We have said for weeks now that Newt will decide whether or not to move to an explore phase by late February/early March," said Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler. "We are sticking to that schedule. In response to what has been said: Newt will make up his mind in his time."

If accurate, the formation of the exploratory committee would keep with the timeline that the former Speaker had sketched late last week. Gingrich told an audience in Florida that he was within two weeks of making a decision.


Forming an exploratory committee is one step short of formally declaring one's candidacy, though it's a traditional step a serious candidate takes before entering the race, which allows him or her to begin raising money for a campaign.

Gingrich generally polls well among Republican primary voters, though he trails candidates at the front of the pack. Nine percent of Republicans told the most recent Gallup Poll that they would prefer Gingrich in a crowded GOP field. 

In the meanwhile, the former Speaker has sharpened his rhetoric against President Obama, having loudly criticized the president, for instance, for abandoning his defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. As he moves toward a run, emphasis on his social views -- and recent conversion to Roman Catholicism -- is a key element of his reintroduction to voters, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Updated 2:30 p.m.