GINGRICH
Steve Pope  /  AP
Asked if he'd seek the White House in 2008, Ginrich replied: “I might be, I don’t know.”
updated 5/11/2005 10:52:18 PM ET 2005-05-12T02:52:18

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich conceded Wednesday that he might run for president in 2008, but said he will spend the coming years focusing on changes needed in the nation and less time talking about his own political ambitions.

“The message I’m trying to send is we need to have a discussion over the next three years about really big changes,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We need some time spent by would-be political leaders talking about their vision for the future and answering big questions — before they run out and hire the consultants and the 30-second attack commercials,” the former Republican lawmaker said.

He said leaders must look at transforming the nation’s health care system, improving its educational system and returning the nation to the days of a balanced budget.

Three-day trip to Iowa
Gingrich made his remarks during a three-day visit to Iowa, where caucuses launch presidential campaigns every four years. His trip included signing copies of his book “Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America,” his vision for national change.

By mixing in a series of political appearances during the trip, Gingrich raised questions about his own future. Asked if he would be a candidate in 2008, he said, “I might be, I don’t know.”

He repeatedly returned to his policy proposals and said he wants the debate surrounding the next election to focus on those issues. But Gingrich said he wasn’t optimistic that a debate over ideas is possible in the current media-driven environment.

“Only if we have enormous discipline,” Gingrich said of the wide-open presidential race. “What it lends itself to is 650,000 articles about what consultant got hired and who raised the most money, who has the right pollster and all of the trivial. That is a downside of politics.”

Gingrich was the architect of the “Contract With America,” a conservative, legislative list that helped Republicans win control of the House in 1994. He resigned as House speaker in 1998 and quit Congress after Republicans lost seats in midterm elections that year — even as then-President Clinton dealt with the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal.

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