Gingrich announced Saturday he would not seek the presidency in 2008.
(CNN)–Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said it was legislation co-authored by a current candidate in the GOP presidential race, that prevented him from continuing to run his own political action committee, American Solution, and opening a presidential exploratory committee.
"Yesterday morning we learned from our attorneys that under the McCain-Feingold law, it is a criminal penalty if I had retained any communication with American Solutions. I could go to jail," Gingrich said Sunday in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "And the idea that you're on the turn of the dime kill this program in order to obey the McCain-Feingold Act which I think is an unconstitutional, frankly destructive bill, was crazy. And I just said if we have to choose, then it's irresponsible to not finish building up American Solutions."
Gingrich was referring to the 2002 piece of legislation authored by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, a current candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, and Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wisconsin, that regulates the financing of political campaigns.
Gingrich said his party does face a tough road in its quest to re-capture the White House. "I think the odds are 80 per cent that Sen. Clinton is the next president; I think she is almost certainly going to win the Democratic nomination," he said of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York. "And I think unless the Republicans can find a way to represent real change for the current situation in Washington, unless they can convince the American people they represent fundamental change, I think they'll have a very hard time."
On the current field of GOP candidates, Mr. Gingrich said he found them all to be "hardworking, smart people." He said he would hold off on endorsing any particular candidate until after the Republican National Convention next summer in Minneapolis.
- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford