Newt Gingrich on Thursday announced that he’s going to explore running for president. He has set up a website, NewtExplore2012.com, where donors can give him money to fund this effort.
“We will try very methodically to lay out the framework for what we do next,” said Mr. Gingrich, speaking to reporters at the Georgia state Capitol.
Allow me to translate: This is yet another scam to sucker money out of idiots who can still be convinced that I could beat Barack Obama (or anyone else, for that matter).
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In his brief remarks, Gingrich pointedly stayed away from the word “committee,” as in “presidential exploratory committee.” These are legal entities organized to raise and spend money on stuff such as polls and testing-the-waters travel. Gingrich is not forming such an organization – at least not yet.
Why do things that way? It kind of makes Thursday’s statement an announcement that may have an announcement later about whether he’ll have something further to say at some point.
Gingrich already has established a number of other kinds of political action committees, notes CRP [Center for Responsive Politics].
Aides have said Gingrich has business entities that he has to make sure are separate from any campaign finance organization, and that untangling all of that may take some time.
But presidential exploratory committees remain fairly lightly regulated. They do not have to file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) or report donors, for example. So establishing one would not force Gingrich to disclose more about his sources of cash.
However, setting up an organized exploratory organization would get Gingrich another day in news headlines. In that sense, Thursday’s semi-announcement could just be a way of drawing out the media coverage of the possible GOP candidate’s intentions.
One thing Gingrich cannot do, however, is directly refer to himself as a candidate. Once a White House wannabe does that, the FEC sounds a claxon, and the aspirant has to set up a full campaign committee, with all its reporting and oversight requirements.
From The New York Times:
In an afternoon visit to the State Capitol [in Atlanta], Mr. Gingrich smiled broadly as he entered the governor’s formal briefing room, with his wife, Callista, at his side. He said they had decided, after months of deliberation, to move forward and see if he could find enough support among Republican primary voters to compete seriously for the party’s nomination.
“We believe that America’s best years are actually ahead of us,” said Mr. Gingrich, 67, who won his first bid for elective office 33 years ago as a Georgia congressman.
Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker, is seldom at a loss for words. But he limited his appearance here to nine minutes, taking only one question about a potential presidential bid, before walking away from a room filled with television cameras.
There was an air of gamesmanship in the appearance, but even the quick glimpse offered a window into what a Gingrich candidacy might look like. Mrs. Gingrich, who turns 45 on Friday and is Mr. Gingrich’s third wife, is a central partner in business and political decisions. An exploratory Web site that Mr. Gingrich presented on Thursday featured a picture of the two of them and he opened nearly every sentence with the phrase, “We believe.”
The official purpose of his visit here with Gov. Nathan Deal was a discussion of federalism and the rights of states.
Mr. Gingrich’s announcement did not cause much of a stir in the Capitol, where a tense debate on immigration and the state budget was under way. It remains an open question how much of an impact it will have on the race.
Mr. Gingrich, who rose to the top of the Republican ranks 17 years ago as speaker, has worked to reinvent himself over the last decade after his 1998 resignation from the House. His spectacular fall followed a confrontation over spending with President Bill Clinton that led to the government shutdown of 1995, along with ethics battles and acknowledging an extramarital affair with Callista [Bisek], a House staff member, whom he later married.