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Gingrich: $30 million will get me into presidential race

  • Story Highlights
  • Newt Gingrich says his Internet-based fundraising effort will start Monday
  • If he gets $30 million in pledges by October 21, he's in the 2008 race, he says
  • Gingrich has suggested he'd be the best Republican to debate Hillary Clinton
  • Fundraising move announced at event billed as a search for bipartisan solutions
  • Next Article in Politics »
From Alan Duke
CNN
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MARIETTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told supporters on Thursday that if they pledge at least $30 million to his campaign over a three-week period starting Monday, he will compete for the GOP 2008 presidential nomination.

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at the Republican Straw Poll in Iowa last month.

Gingrich chose Thursday, the 13th anniversary of the signing of his "Contract With America," to launch his "Solutions Day" campaign, which he said is a search for bipartisan answers to the country's major challenges.

Without mentioning the 2008 race, Gingrich outlined what sounded like a campaign message when he called for "real change, not the same old stuff."

He said "very bold" proposals are needed to bring the U.S. government into the 21st century.

"I think, as a general rule, that levees should not break, that bridges should not fall, that students should actually learn," Gingrich said.

Gingrich was careful to make his Solutions Day launch a bipartisan event by including well-known Democrats. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin delivered a videotaped message and former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer spoke in person about the need for an overhaul of education. Video Watch virtual Gingrich present his ideas in cyberspace »

The campaigns of GOP presidential contenders Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul were allowed to hand out literature.

The Solutions Day events serve as a vehicle for Gingrich to build support for a presidential candidacy, which he said he would be "perfectly happy" not to launch.

"I'm not going to be on the phone and I'm not begging," Gingrich told conservative talk show host Sean Hannity, who attended the event. Instead, Gingrich's lawyer, J. Randolph Evans, will head an Internet-based fundraising effort, set to launch on Monday.

Gingrich, 64, has hinted for months that he would join the GOP presidential race if he determined no other candidate appeared able to take on the Democrats in 2008.

His hinting has become louder in recent weeks, with his suggestion that Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York is destined to be the Democratic nominee and that he would be the best Republican to debate her.

Gingrich said, however, that he has no desire to personally raise campaign funds.

The series of Solutions Day events began Thursday in Cobb County -- a Republican-dominated Atlanta suburb that Gingrich represented in Congress.

The former college history professor said if he decided to run for president, he would announce it in Cobb County on November 13, 32 years to the day Ronald Reagan launched his first run for the White House.

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Gingrich, first elected to Congress in 1978, became the first Republican speaker of the House since 1954 when he led his party to victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He resigned suddenly from Congress four years later, after his party lost five House seats in the 1998 elections.

In the nine years since, Gingrich has not sought public office, but he has remained vocal as a speaker for hire and author. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Newt GingrichRepublican Party

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