WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has signed on to the latest high-profile effort to re-brand the Republican Party - but don't expect to see him take a major leadership role for the National Council for a New America, or make a starring appearance at any of the events on the group's national tour.
Organizers of the effort, spearheaded by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, originally told reporters that Gingrich had not been included in the newly-launched group because his 527, American Solutions, was a partisan entity. (The organization describes itself as a "tri-partisan" network.)
Gingrich supporters dismissed that explanation, pointing out that Mitt Romney - a member of the NCNA's panel of experts - headed the explicitly partisan Free and Strong America PAC, which donates to GOP candidates.
(updated after the jump with Cantor camp response)
Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler downplayed the delay, saying the former speaker was "thrilled and delighted" to join the group.
An individual close to the process blamed Romney's operation for the decision. The GOP aide, who did not wish to be named, told CNN Cantor had officially extended an invitation to Gingrich soon after the group's debut event in northern Virginia last month, but that the former Speaker had not decided to formally accept until Monday.
Earlier this month - the same day Rush Limbaugh told listeners that NCNA leaders despised Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin - Cantor announced that the former Republican vice presidential candidate had accepted an earlier invitation to join the group. Palin joined Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, her former GOP ticket-mate Sen. John McCain, former Floria Gov. Jeb Bush and Romney as a member of the group's senior advisory panel.
Gingrich’s involvement is expected to be more behind-the-scenes.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom derided the report that the former Massachusetts governor's camp had sought to exclude Gingrich. "To qualify as interesting, a rumor should have at least some basis in fact," he said. "This has none. Our view is, the more the merrier."
UPDATE: Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring dismissed the complaints, telling CNN that Gingrich - and RNC chairman Michael Steele, who was not also included in the group's launch due to similar concerns - had not been singled out. “Our legal counsel took extra efforts to ensure that every 'T' was crossed and every 'I' was dotted, to ensure that there were no questions surrounding the involvement of any member of the National Council or its panel of experts,” he said.
He also denied that the Romney team had anything to do with the former speaker's initial exclusion: "There is absolutely no truth to the insinuation that Gov. Romney had anything to do with a delay [in Gingrich's invitation], and Gov. Romney has been very supportive of the growth of the National Council."
A new America, with the same players??? Laughable.
Let me get this right.
Pelosi and Ried have to go because they are career politician, who are devisive and partisan.
To counter this problem, the GOP resorts to Newt. LMAO.
The GOP is wreck, looking for a train.
If you fill a silk bag with manure it remains a silk bag but the contents are unchanged as well.
Newt, Cheney and Limbaugh are the faces of the republican party. These are the same group that drove the GOP into near extinction. The have no new ideas, just old ideas re-packaged. The American public voted a resounding NO to the ideology and politics-as-usual of the GOP. The problem is that everyone knows it but them.
Did you ever notice that our former Speaker looks a lot like "CHUCKY". You know, the doll that was possesed and killed people. SOUND FAMILIAR?
The LOT of them need to take a Summer's Eve ™ and have a LONG lie-down. Like FOREVER.
This just in....Kentucky Fried Chicken is going to "re-brand" itself by featuring a picture of an old, southern colonel on their buckets of chicken.
Gingrich is anything but new, send him away...
The same ole Newt!
Boy, that's the blind leading the blind! Whining, pathetic people who blame others for their mistakes and will never admit to any wrongdoing is what makes up the Republican party, and no matter how they sugar coat things for the public, we're not buying it!
this old fart RE-BRANDING the GOP!? he IS the GOP
good luck with that, Mr Gingrich. and thank you for sinking the GOP further in the toilet!
what can i say that hasnt already been said...
how about "keep up the good work you wonderful husband of a man, we all like the way you protect the sanctity of marriage ;)"
you didnt make it out of the 90s for a reason... guess you havnt figured that out yet..
Il like it when CNN uses photos making people look evil. Like the one they show of that black guy acting like POTUS
this man is a joke... he can go away right now and it will be too soon.
Re-branding...hmm how about using a cattle branding rod for punishment to the American people for the past 8 years and that way no apology is necessary. And Newt Gingrich already has a brand, the liar and cheater, he branded himself.