Gingrich says it's too early to campaign for 2008

March 15, 2007|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,sun reporter

If former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decides to run for president, he won't be announcing it soon.

"I think it is absurd to have people out here running around raising money, arguing about politics for an entire year ... to finally get sworn in January 2009," Gingrich said last night before addressing a crowd of about 1,000 at Goucher College in Towson.

"I think that's just a dumb way to spend your life. And that's a lot of money. It's a consultant-full employment campaign that has nothing to do with the average American."

Instead there should be a 16- to 18-week campaign period for the two major party candidates, during which they would make a commitment to debate nine times for 90 minutes each, "no moderator, just a stop watch," he said.

Gingrich, who is rumored to be quietly strategizing about a 2008 presidential run in the Republican primary, said he will begin exploring his options after a series of nationwide workshops in late September aimed at transforming government, which will be hosted by his new organization American Solutions.

Gingrich, who acknowledged recently in a radio interview to having an affair during former President Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky scandal, in which he called for the president's impeachment, declined to discuss his infidelity.

"I'm not going to talk anymore about my personal life," Gingrich said. "[The radio host] asked me to come on his radio program ... and at the very end of that he asked me several personal questions, and I thought it was appropriate to answer them.

He was greeted by a packed house at Goucher's Kraushaar Auditorium that included former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., and he received a standing ovation from nearly three-quarters of the crowd. One man held a "Newt for President" sign.

After speaking for about half an hour, Gingrich sat with Goucher President Sanford J. Ungar - former co-host of the National Public Radio program All Things Considered - for a short interview, followed by audience questions.

Goucher officials said Gingrich was paid for his appearance by a student's parent.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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