Gingrich expects Palin to run in 2012

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Friday that he expects former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) to be among the crowd of GOP presidential candidates in 2012.

Gingrich, himself a potential candidate for president, sized up the field of would-be competitors, detailing which GOP politicians he expects to jump into the race.

The field Gingrich listed included: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), and Rep. Ron Paul (Texas).

“There are going to be lots of Republicans running — Gov. Romney clearly, Gov. Palin, Gov. Huckabee, Gov. Mitch Daniels, Gov. Haley Barbour, Gov. Tim Pawlenty. I think John Thune, the senator from South Dakota, is probably going to get in. Ron Paul’s probably going to run again,” Gingrich said in an interview with Newsmax, a conservative magazine. “I think it’s going to be a lively campaign, there’ll be a lot of good candidates.”

Some of the candidates Gingrich listed — like Romney and Pawlenty — have already begun to quietly organize a team to prepare for a bid to challenge President Obama. Others have taken a more unconventional route, like Palin, who’s used Facebook and Twitter missives to build support among a field of conservative House and Senate candidates.

Gingrich, asked specifically about Palin, said she’d be a formidable opponent.

“I think she’s already a very strong personality and has the potential to be a very strong candidate,” he said.

As for his own plans, the former House speaker, who’s flirted with presidential bids in previous cycles only to back out, said he’d decide on a run early next year.

“Calista and I, along with our family, will make that decision in February or March,” he said. “For the moment, I’m totally focused on trying to help Republicans win the biggest possible election this fall.”

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