WASHINGTON — Democrats will nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in 2008 and Barack Obama will be her running mate, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicts.
The GOP will have three "formidable" choices in Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, said Gingrich, who is considering whether to get into the race.
Gingrich is ruling out John McCain's chances among the Republican contenders.
The Arizona senator "has taken positions so deeply at odds with his party's base that I don't see how he can get the nomination," Gingrich said Sunday in a broadcast interview.
Gingrich said he had dinner recently with Thompson, the former Tennessee senator and actor who has set up a political committee that allows him to raise money for a presidential bid. An official launch is likely in September, after the Labor Day holiday.
Gingrich said he expects Thompson will enter what is shaping up as a competitive race for the GOP nomination against Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, and Giuliani, a former New York City mayor.
"I think that either Mayor Giuliani or Governor Romney or Senator Thompson would be a very formidable opponent for what I expect will be a Clinton-Obama ticket, and I think that there's a possibility that will work," Gingrich said.
In the fall, Gingrich might decide to jump in, depending on how the Republican candidates are faring against Clinton, the New York senator.
"If there is a vacuum and if there's a real need for somebody to be prepared to debate Senator Clinton, then I would consider running. I think we'll know that in October," Gingrich said.
"But these three are serious people," Gingrich said, referring to Romney, Giuliani and Thompson. "They're working very hard. And if they can fill the vacuum, I don't feel any great need to run."
Gingrich spoke on "Fox News Sunday."
CANTERBURY, N.H. (AP) _ Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards says negotiating with insurers and pharmaceutical companies is not the best way to overhaul the health care system.
Those groups will not give up their power voluntarily, the former North Carolina senator said Sunday.
"I've been fighting these people my whole life and have beaten them my whole life," said Edwards, a former trial lawyer. "I think the time to talk to them is after you've beaten them."
Edwards has proposed requiring employers to provide insurance or contribute to the coverage of every worker. The government would pay for insurance for lower income people and subsidize what other families pay.
He also would cap the amount insurance companies can charge for profit or overhead at 15 percent and would pay for the $90 to $120 billion a year plan by repealing President Bush's tax cuts for people who make more than $200,000 a year.
"How long are we going to let insurance companies and drug companies run this country?" he said.
Associated Press writer Holly Ramer in Canterbury, N.H., contributed to this report.