updated 1/21/2007 1:53:34 PM ET 2007-01-21T18:53:34

First, Newt Gingrich said he would run for president in 2008 only if no other Republican emerged as a clear front-runner. Now, the former House speaker says he will run only as a “last resort.”

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His assessment came in response to a question by Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday.”

“You sound as if you think about running for president as a last resort, not as a first resort?” Wallace asked.

“Exactly,” Gingrich answered. “I mean, nobody’s ever said it quite that way, but you’re right.”

Gingrich said he first hoped to influence the presidential race by providing candidates in both parties with his “solutions” to problems such as health care, energy, education, national security and immigration.

“If, in that process, it becomes necessary to run, then I’ll run,” Gingrich said.

“Last resort, not first resort?” Wallace repeated.

“Last resort,” Gingrich replied.

Gingrich said last month that it would not be too late for him to enter the race after this coming Labor Day, if he believed no candidate had a clear advantage.

The official nominee will be picked at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., in early September 2008.

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