Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich launched NewtExplore2012.com on Thursday. The new website comes as the latest sign that the big name Republican is testing the waters for a possible presidential campaign in the next election cycle.
Alongside a request for political donations is a note from Gingrich and his wife:
America's greatness lies in 'We the People.'
We are a nation like no other. To remain so will require the dedicated participation of every citizen, of every neighborhood, of every background. This is the responsibility of a free people.
We are excited about exploring whether there is sufficient support for my potential candidacy for President of this exceptional country.
NBC's First Read relays a perhaps comedic twist in the launch of the website:
If you're wondering about that background image on Newt Gingrich's new web site -- the one featuring a racially diverse crowd peppered with American flags -- it's a stock photo from Getty Images subsidiary Digital Vision.
ThinkProgress notes the graphic was also used by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).
In addition to the website, Gingrich created a @NewtExplore2012 Twitter account. Speaking to reporters in his home state of Georgia on Thursday, he said he is strategically considering his plans for 2012 and will embrace the next stage of the decision-making process to inform what step to take next.
Over the past week, speculation has swirled over the prospect of Gingrich mounting a campaign for the White House. Despite multiple reports suggesting the possible contender would announce the formation of an exploratory committee for a presidential bid, a spokesman for Gingrich denied the former House leader was on the brink of taking such step toward a run.
On Wednesday, Fox News suspended Gingrich as a contributor to the network over the possibility he could jump into the presidential mix. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum was suspended for the same reason in his role as well.
The AP reported on Wednesday:
Getting into the race would mark a comeback attempt for Gingrich, who led the Republican Party to a sweeping victory in the midterm elections of 1994. It gave the GOP a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Gingrich rose to House speaker in 1995, but was effectively ousted by his own party four tumultuous years later.
A spending fight between Gingrich and President Bill Clinton led to a shutdown of part of the federal government in 1995 and 1996. He left Congress in 1999. In recent years, he's stayed in the public eye speaking on issues from health care to foreign affairs.
Before Gingrich addressed reporters in Georgia on Thursday, the Christian Broadcasting Network exclusively obtained an e-mail the possible candidate sent to his family about his political ambitions.
"We are grateful for your love support and prayers," he wrote in part of the memo after signaling his intention to launch his new website. "This will be an extraordinary adventure and we hope all of you will feel free to participate and help. We will do a family conference call in a few days reporting on how things are going."