On Tuesday night, those following Newt Gingrich’s dance toward a presidential race were confronted with two contradictory messages.
The Des Moines Register quoted Gingrich confidante Joe Gaylord as saying that the former U.S. House speaker would announce the formation of an exploratory committee on Thursday in Atlanta. Yet an urgent message from Rick Tyler, the Gingrich spokesman, arrived at 9 p.m., playing down the importance of Thursday’s joint press conference with Gov. Nathan Deal.
One wonders if the Tuesday night decision by Fox News to send letters to both Gingrich and Rick Santorum, suspending their work as contributors for the network, may have played a role as well. From the Los Angeles Times:
Dianne Brandi, the network’s executive vice president of legal and business affairs, said in an interview that the channel made the move because Gingrich aides told Fox News executives that the former House speaker is stepping up his exploration of a presidential bid.
While Gingrich is not expected to announce that he is forming a federal exploratory committee this week, he is expected to say in Georgia on Thursday that he is meeting with advisors to explore seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a Gingrich aide said….
Brandi said the network acted out of journalistic principle.
“We can’t have Speaker Gingrich on our payroll while he is in the midst of an exploratory committee to see if he’s going to run for office,” she said. “It’s a clear conflict.”
Fox News still has two other potential White House contenders on the payroll: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
“As soon as each of them shows some serious intention to form an exploratory committee, we would take the same action,” Brandi said. “Huckabee is on a book tour, so I think his present intention is to sell books.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider