Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says within a month he will make a decision whether to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 and his “hope” is that he will, but there are still some obstacles that remain. Gingrich also said on “Fox News Sunday” that he has not flipped his stance on U.S. intervention in Libya, and in his mind there is no doubt that Gadhafi must be ousted.
On 2012, the presumed candidate said though inclined, “We are not yet running.”
“We have a variety of reasons for doing this in this methodical way,” Gingrich told host Chris Wallace. “I think we are assembling a very good team, recently we have been in South Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa – places you need to go – as well as Texas, Florida, and North Carolina – and the water is pretty warm.
“My hope is that within a month we’ll be in,” he said. “We’re still finishing up the exploratory phase, and we have specific things we are getting done, that we need to do, before we make the final decision.”
On Libya, Gingrich told Wallace that it was the president who changed the rules on the Libyan game.
“I said [originally] we should be for replacing Gadhafi, without using the U.S. military. Now the president on March 3rd changed the rules of the game,” Gingrich said. “The president came out publicly and said: ‘Gadhafi must go.’ My original position was: If you’re not in the lake, don’t jump in; once you’re in the lake, swim like crazy.
“Now that the president has said ‘Gadhafi must go,’ our goal should be the defeat of the Gadhafi government, and the replacement of Gadhafi as rapidly as possible,” he said. “Ideally, by using Western air power, with Arab forces – including I think Egyptian and Moroccan and other advisers to help with the ground campaign – but I see no reason for American ground troops to go in.
“But I think the president has positioned us; once the president says Gadhafi must go, we have an obligation as a country to get rid of him,” Gingrich added. “It should be unequivocal.”
Wallace asked if Gingrich was president what he would say to the American people; President Barack Obama plans to make a public address on Libya Monday night.
“I hope the president tomorrow night will be dramatically clearer than he has been up until now,” Gingrich replied. “I hope the president will say – first of all – that he’s consulted the U.S. Congress, not just the Arab League and the United Nations. I hope that he’ll say, second, that he says it is clear that the Gadhafi dictatorship has to leave, and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure that the Gadhafi leadership leave,” using, air power but without ground forces.
Wallace asked what the United States should be doing in other Middle Eastern countries, which are wreaked with turmoil.
“Well I think, as a general principle, we want to be in favor of people being in charge of their own lives,” Gingrich said. “And that has a lot of complications in some parts of the Muslim world, because you do have al-Qaida, and you do have extremist groups.
“This thing is going to unfold in all sorts of very complicated ways, and we don’t have either the wisdom, or the resources, to get into every single place that has a problem.”