Newt flakes? Memories of 1995. . .
Last night, Newt Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler sent out this missive:
Clarification: Purpose of Gingrich Visit to Georgia
Over the past 48 hours, there has been much speculation in the press about former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's intentions with respect to a presidential candidacy. The attached article from the Des Moines Register which contains a significantly inaccurate statement is indicative of that speculation.
Speaker Gingrich's long-standing visit to Georgia on Thursday has been on his schedule for months. As a senior fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, Gingrich will participate in the Annual AEI World Forum. He accepted that invitation last spring.
His plans for being in Georgia also include an event for his American Solutions organization. As a regular part of his travel schedule in his role as general chairman, Speaker Gingrich holds meetings with potential supporters and concerned citizens to raise the resources necessary to fund American Solutions' mission and its important projects like Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less and Jobs Here, Jobs Now, Jobs First.
Gingrich will also visit the State Capitol in Atlanta to discuss with Gov. Nathan Deal the American Solutions "Replace not Reform" project. As part of the project, he will ask the governor to establish a "Tenth Amendment Team" within the governor's office that focuses on defending Georgia's 10th Amendment rights under the Constitution.
Gingrich is not traveling to Georgia to announce that he will form "an exploratory committee" as stated in the Des Moines Register. To be clear, while Speaker Gingrich is in Georgia on Thursday, he will NOT announce the formation of an exploratory committee.
One supposes, then, that there won't be an announcement today or Friday either. Maybe ever. Who knows?
This is quintessential Newt Gingrich -- big ideas, lots of self-promotion and rotten follow through.
Republicans who served with him in Congress remember this Gingrich all too well. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) in an interview last December made clear how he views Gingrich's leadership skills:
The difference between Gingrich and John Boehner (R-Ohio), [King] said, couldn't be greater. He was blunt: "You do need a speaker who is very sober minded. Boehner will do a much better job than Gingrich." He continued, "John is the perfect person for the job. The only time he becomes the center of attention is when the White House makes him the center of attention." King does not recall the Gingrich years fondly. "The speaker can't take on issue X for two weeks and then go on Meet the Press or Fox and talk about issue Y." He said he "doesn't know how many times" Gingrich's controversial statement pulled the Republicans off track. He recalls that Gingrich used to make speeches ragging on liberal New York. King shook his head: "When you're in leadership, you are speaking to the whole country."
This false start will only rekindle doubts about Gingrich's seriousness and level-headedness. And remember, Gingrich hinted at a 2008 presidential run, promised he would do it if he raised $30 million and then decided against a campaign. Maybe that's where we are headed again. With Gingrich, you never know.
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