WASHINGTON – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gives himself 4-to-1 odds against running for president, an assessment that conflicts with his recent pronouncements about seeking the Republican nomination.
Last month, Gingrich said "it is a great possibility" that he would pursue the presidency. But he told The Associated Press this week he would give it "4-to-1 odds" against, saying he enjoys being a pundit and book author.
Gingrich outlined his decision-making process to the AP: After holding national Internet-based workshops on Sept. 27 and 29, he will decide whether to form an exploratory committee on Sept. 30. If he does form a committee, he will decide whether to run by Nov. 6, about one year from Election Day 2008.
His comments came during a book signing for "Paper Kills: Transforming Health and Healthcare with Information Technology," which was published by Gingrich's health care think tank.
He said he will talk about his decision process Friday in a speech to the conservative American Enterprise Institute, where Gingrich is a senior fellow.
Gingrich said his speech is about his vision of the next governing majority. In an interview Sunday with Fox News, he said, "It is not pro- or anti-Bush. It is beyond the current presidency."
"And it argues that in order for us to be effective, in order for us to apply the World War II standard of effectiveness, we have to have very relentless, dramatic change in American government," he said.
He added: "I'm simply suggesting we need to have some very bold proposals for fundamental change, and so far, I don't see much of that."
Gingrich has traveled in early presidential contest states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, although he has not hired campaign staff or recruited supporters there.
He has said he will hold workshops in Iowa's 99 counties and will attend the GOP straw poll in Ames in August, though he won't actively campaign for support. He also plans to address a group of Iowa ministers at an Iowa Renewal Project event.