Gingrich spoke at the National Press Club Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has told CNN that if he decides to run for president, he will let the country know by early October at the latest.
Gingrich’s revelation came after wide-ranging remarks at the National Press Club on Tuesday. The speech was billed as an opportunity for Gingrich to formally announce his “Nine Nineties in Nine” challenge to the 2008 presidential field. Through a new organization called American Solutions for Winning the Future, Gingrich and journalist Marvin Kalb have asked all of the presidential candidates to pledge to participate in nine ninety-minute debates during the nine Sundays between Labor Day and Election day in 2008 if they win their party’s nomination. The proposed series of debates is inspired by the famous 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates that put Abraham Lincoln on the national political stage.
“The current political system is not working,” Gingrich said Tuesday, in advocating his proposal for a more substantive discussion prior to the 2008 presidential election.
Gingrich did not, however, limit himself to his debate proposal during his remarks. He touched on a wide range of topics, including economic competition from China and India, the war on terrorism, America’s educational system, the plight of African-American men and the country’s crumbling infrastructure.
He even weighed in on the political skill of new French President Nikolas Sarkozy.
Gingrich also commented on the field of 2008 presidential contenders against which he may soon compete. “I think third party candidates who purchase the election violate the entire spirit of the United States,” said Gingrich, alluding to the possible Independent presidential candidacy of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “We are on the edge of a plutocracy and we need to understand how dangerous the current structure is,” he added.
“I think we actually have right now four very serious Republican candidates who could be very formidable next year – Mayor Giuliani, Governor Romney, Senator Thompson, and Governor Huckabee.” Gingrich added that he thought Huckabee will emerge as a “dark horse” candidate because of his “authenticity and sincerity and candor.”
On the Democratic side, Gingrich said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, is “a very formidable professional. She works very hard.” Echoing remarks from many other Republicans, Gingrich also said of Clinton that “the suggestion that she would not be capable of this is just wrong.”
- CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart