BEDFORD, N.H. – Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich said both Massachusetts politicians considering presidential bids have challenges in the next year, but they can be overcome.
During a two-day swing through New Hampshire, Gingrich said in an interview that will air on WBZ Channel 4 tonight that Governor Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith “of course will be an issue” but no more an issue that John F. Kennedy’s being Roman Catholic in his run for president in 1960.
He described Romney as “interesting” and as “the most conservative governor Massachusetts has had in a long time”. That said, Gingrich thinks Romney made a critical mistake by not running for re-election earlier this month.
“Had he run and won re-election he would probably be the front-runner for the nomination right now,” said Gingrich.
When asked if John Kerry was “dead politically”, Gingrich said that he, too, was considered politically dead and that Americans love a good comeback story.
“John Kerry had a bad Fall; he said a dumb thing,” said Gingrich. “If he would go away for six months, then find two or three things that really matter to the American people he could be among the front-runners.”
As for his own prospects of a presidential run, Gingrich said he is more concerned with injecting ideas into the campaign than himself. Monday night at a First Amendment dinner in Manchester and again Tuesday morning he said he will not consider running for president until September 2007, a relatively late date.
In the meantime, he has formed a new non-profit group – technically a 527 – called American Solutions that he promises will be “10 times bigger than the Contract with America” and “50 times larger that the 53,000 people associated with GOPAC”, the political organization he founded that helped with the 1994 Republican take-over of Congress.