Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Newt Gingrich Enters 2012 Race

Newt GingrichImage via Wikipedia

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia formally entered the 2012 Republican presidential race today, announcing his intentions in a web video.“I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity,”  Gingrich said. “We’ve done it before, we can do it again.”

Gingrich’s long life in the national spotlight is both his strength and weakness in the 2012 campaign. He is universally well known and  well liked by Republican primary voters and is also widely respected in GOP circles as a "serious and innovative policy mind" according to The Washington Post's The Fix blog.

A former college professor, Gingrich was elected to the House in 1978. In the 1994 midterm elections, he spearheaded a Republican campaign that gave the party its first majority in the House in 40 years. In January 1995, when the new Congress took office, he became the first Republican House speaker since Representative Joe Martin of Massachusetts served in the post from 1953 to 1955.

In 1997, Gingrich was reprimanded by the House and paid $300,000 to settle claims that he had used tax-exempt organizations for political purposes and had given misleading statements during an investigation. He announced his resignation from Congress in November 1998 after the House Republicans saw their majority shrink in the second consecutive election.

Gingrich, 67, is twice divorced, and in the 1990s - while he was leading the charge to impeach President Bill Clinton in connection with his affair with a White House intern - he had an extramarital affair with the woman who became his third wife. Socially conservative voters influential in the Republican primary race could be turned off by that past, analysts say.

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