WASHINGTON -- Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich continued to tease the media on Sunday, saying that he is now leaning toward running for president in 2012, although he won't make a final announcement until spring 2011.
"We're much more inclined to run than not run," he told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, and pointed to Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney as the current GOP frontrunners.
Nevertheless, all of this may be nothing but hollow rhetoric. As Salon's Justin Elliott notes, Gingrich "has a history going back to 1996 of making empty presidential campaign threats. They are a great way to get free publicity, especially when you're in the political fundraising business, as Gingrich is. And journalists play their part too, repeatedly asking Gingrich the same question, despite his crystal-clear, oft-repeated position."
In recent weeks, Gingrich has been ramping up the fundraising activity of his American Solutions PAC, outraising Romney's committee and coming in just below Sarah Palin's PAC.
Gingrich has also been trying to increase outreach to Latino voters, a growing constituency that helped Democrats win close Senate contests in Colorado, California and Nevada.
"We are not going to deport 11 million people," Gingrich said Thursday at his forum on Latino issues. "There has to be some zone between deportation and amnesty." He also said some parts of the DREAM Act -- which most Republicans have resisted supporting -- are "useful," but didn't like the fact that some people who came here illegally would be able to jump ahead of people waiting to go through the legal process in their own countries.
Gingrich, however, is also serving as an informal adviser to House Republicans and has advocated some of the movement's more extreme positions, such as another government shutdown, similar to the one he orchestrated in 1995.