Gingrich in 2012? Don't get your hopes up

The former House speaker talks about a presidential run, but he's done this dance before

Published October 26, 2009 4:15PM (EDT)

He hasn't been speaker of the House for quite some time, but Newt Gingrich still knows how to get the political world buzzing: Tease everyone with hints about a presidential run.

That's what Gingrich did this weekend during an appearance on C-SPAN. Asked about his plans for 2012, the former speaker replied:

Callista and I are going to think about this in February 2011. And we are going to reach out to all of our friends around the country. And we'll decide, if there's a requirement as citizens that we run, I suspect we probably will. And if there's not a requirement, if other people have filled the vaccum, I suspect we won't.

This is vintage Gingrich, the same sort of thing he was saying as he hinted he might run in 2008. At that time, he said, "I am not 'running' for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen."

It's hard to blame Gingrich for this attitude. He's comfortably ensconced as a party elder right now, and even if his power within the GOP isn't as strong as he might like, he gets plenty of media attention. A big loss in a presidential run would put an end to that. So it makes sense that he'd only want to throw his hat in if it were essentially part of a coronation, if other potential nominees had crumbled and the Republican Party came begging. With the 2012 primary field already looking crowded, the odds of that seem low.

For now, though, Gingrich is keeping busy. On Sunday and Monday, he was on Twitter, participating in a "twitternactment" of the Revolutionary War Battle of Trenton that featured such gems as "RT @genwashington76: Ordered The Crisis to be read out loud as the men get onto the boats. It will remind the men of what is at stake. #1776."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

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2012 Elections Newt Gingrich War Room