Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced the launch of a presidential campaign for the next election cycle on Wednesday.
Gingrich wrote in a tweet, "Today I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States." Along with the message, the newly-minted Republican contender included a link to video of his campaign announcement. The link, however, appeared to be broken at the time it was sent.
"I'm announcing my candidacy for president of the United States because I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity, to full employment, to real security, to an American energy program, to a balanced budget," Gingrich says in the video dispatched to supporters. "I worked with President Ronald Reagan in a very difficult period. We got jobs created again. Americans proud of America. And the Soviet Union disappeared."
While recent polls haven't shown Gingrich to be running at the front of the pack of likely Republican presidential contenders, the former speaker is perhaps one of the better known conservative names eyeing the GOP nomination to take on President Barack Obama in 2012.
Earlier this year, Gingrich formed an exploratory committee in weighing a bid for the White House. His roll out of the organization appeared to be a bit disorganized and generated some confusion. Nevertheless, the move allowed him to begin raising money for a presidential campaign.
The effort comes as an opportunity for Gingrich to revive his career after resigning in disgrace from the U.S. House of Representatives more than a decade ago. The presidential hopeful may find success in connecting with voters on the conservative end of the political spectrum; however, he will nevertheless have political baggage to contend with on the trail.
The AP relays background on Gingrich's political past:
The conservative former Georgia congressman rose to power after leading the GOP to its first majority in the House in 40 years, spearheading the Republican revolution in the 1994 elections and pledging to adhere to his party's "Contract with America."
Once at the top of the House, he challenged the first-term Democratic president, Bill Clinton, at every turn. A spending fight between Gingrich and Clinton led to federal government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, and Gingrich watched his popularity fall.
He faced charges of hypocrisy after revelations that he was carrying on an affair with a congressional aide at the same time he was criticizing Clinton's relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He divorced his second wife and married the aide, Callista Bisek; she now goes by her husband's surname.
In an interview earlier this year with a Christian broadcaster, Gingrich said his focus on his job contributed to his infidelity and the failure of his two previous marriages.
Ethics questions also dogged him as speaker.
Gingrich faced some 84 ethics complaints; they were leveled mostly by House Democrats who were in the minority and focused on what critics called his blurring of the lines between politics and his personal life. All but one of those complaints was dismissed with no penalty.
He paid $300,000 for the cost of investigating the final complaint – whether Gingrich's college course had violated federal tax law – as part of an agreement with House ethics investigators. Led by Republicans, the ethics committee never reached a conclusion about that allegation. And the IRS cleared the organizations connected with the course of any tax violations.
He stepped down from the House in 1999.
Gingrich addresses his political career in the U.S. House of Representatives in the video released on Wednesday afternoon announcing his campaign.
"As Speaker of the House, I worked to reform Welfare, to balance the budget, to control spending, to cut taxes, to create economic growth," he says. "We've done it before, we can do it again. I want your help because no one person in the Oval Office can get this done. We Americans are going to have to talk together, work together, find solutions together and insist on imposing those solutions on those forces that don't want to change. There are some people who don't mind if America becomes a wreck as long as they dominate the wreckage, but you and I know better."
Below, video of Gingrich's announcement.
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