Gingrich: Palin won't be "de facto leader" of GOP

The former speaker of the House says Sarah Palin will be "a significant player," but one of many.

Published November 17, 2008 2:50PM (EST)

Some conservatives are still enamored of Sarah Palin, and convinced that she's the future of the Republican Party. Apparently, Newt Gingrich isn't really a member of that group.

During an appearance on "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Gingrich didn't slam Palin, but he also tamped down some of the expectations regarding her role over the next couple of years.

"There are a lot of people doing smart things. The natural pattern, in the news media, is going to be, they know how to spell Sarah Palin's name. They have it locked in their word processor. She's going to be a much bigger story in the short run," Gingrich said.

"But, I think, as she goes back to being governor and as she works in Alaska, you're going to see a group of governors emerge, not just Sarah Palin. And there are 36 governorships up in 2010 ... I think that she is going to be a significant player. But she's going to be one of 20 or 30 significant players. She's not going to be the de facto leader."

A cynical person might wonder whether Gingrich had personal motives for saying this -- motives like, say, a presidential run in 2012. He almost made one this year, but he doesn't seem to like the idea of dealing with a lot of competition in the primaries.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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