Newt Gingrich is running for president.
So far, the possible GOP candidates are Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin. And now, Newt. The GOP is making it much easier for Obama to be re-elected in 2012.
The former House speaker disclosed his bid on Twitter and Facebook on Monday and urged followers to tune into Fox News on Wednesday.
Gingrich, 67, enters a Republican field that’s far from fully formed; no less than a dozen Republicans are weighing bids and only a few have taken steps toward candidacies. It’s a crop of candidates that has many in the Republican Party yearning for more options as they seek the strongest candidate to take on President Barack Obama in 2012.
His entry into the race marks a comeback attempt more than a decade after leaving political office.
Once at the top of the House, he challenged the first-term Democratic president, Bill Clinton, at every turn. A spending fight between Gingrich and Clinton led to federal government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, and Gingrich watched his popularity fall.
He faced charges of hypocrisy after revelations that he was carrying on an affair with a congressional aide at the same time he was criticizing Clinton’s relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He divorced his second wife and married the aide, Callista Bisek; she now goes by her husband’s surname.
Ethics questions also dogged him as speaker.
Gingrich faced some 84 ethics complaints; they were leveled mostly by House Democrats who were in the minority and focused on what critics called his blurring of the lines between politics and his personal life. All but one of those complaints was dismissed with no penalty.
He paid $300,000 for the cost of investigating the final complaint – whether Gingrich’s college course had violated federal tax law – as part of an agreement with House ethics investigators. Led by Republicans, the ethics committee never reached a conclusion about that allegation. And the IRS cleared the organizations connected with the course of any tax violations.
He stepped down from the House in 1999.