Gingrich will consider presidential bid

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) will consider whether to run for president following midterm elections in 2010, he said this weekend.

Gingrich, who has long been one of the Republican Party's leading developers of new policy, praised what he said looks to be a strong field of emerging candidates, but he said he will still consider whether he needs to run to fill a void within the party.

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“Calista and I are going to think about this in February 2011, and we’re going to reach out to all of our friends around the country, and we’re going to decide if there’s a requirement as citizens that we run, I suspect we probably will,” Gingrich said in an interview on C-SPAN on Sunday. “And if there’s not a requirement, if other people have filled the vacuum, I suspect we probably won’t.”

Gingrich praised Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who he said was doing the right thing in offering alternatives to Democratic proposals instead of simply opposing the majority. A run of his own, he hinted, would be based on a different kind of change.

“I want to see an alternative Republican Party, not an opposition Republican Party,” Gingrich said. “We need to have standard-bearers who are prepared to offer [a] vivid, powerful alternative.”

Gingrich heaped compliments on candidates who could, in the end, become his rivals for the GOP nomination.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is “going to add a lot to the race,” Gingrich said, while Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) is “one of the most talented people in politics.”

If the economy is still in dire straits, it may behoove the GOP to nominate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), someone with a strong business record, Gingrich said.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), who is hesitant about exploring a bid, “has such a great record that he ought to be looking at it in a serious way,” Gingrich added. Meanwhile, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) could be “a national force in her own right” if she has a good roll-out during her book tour in mid-November.

“I look at a field that could be very interesting and very positive and very exciting,” the former Speaker said. “Calista and I would have to decide, 'Is there a role for us, is there a mission that we have to be on?' Because if it’s not a mission, we won’t do it. I have no great personal ambition, needs to run for president.”