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Gingrich: I'm running for president

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich leaves an Hispanic prayer breakfast on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 11, 2011. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich leaves an Hispanic prayer breakfast on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 11, 2011.

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican Newt Gingrich said Wednesday he's running for president because his experience has prepared him to return America "to hope and opportunity."

In a post on Twitter Wednesday, the former House speaker made official what has been an open secret for months: "Today I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States."

In a YouTube video, Gingrich assures viewers, "There's a much better American future ahead with more jobs more prosperity, a better health system, longer lives, greater independent living and a country that is decentralized under the 10th Amendment with power once again back with the American people and away from the Washington bureaucracy."

He cites his work with President Ronald Reagan and his time as speaker of the House when he says he led the fight to balance the budget, cut spending and reform welfare.

"We've done it before. We can do it again," Gingrich said in the two-minute online video.

Gingrich struck a combative tone, too, saying at one point: "There are some people who don't mind if America becomes a wreck as long as they dominate the wreckage." He also said, "We Americans are going to have to talk together, work together, find solutions together and insist on imposing those solutions on the forces that don't want to change."

In an interview on Fox News, he came out swinging against President Barack Obama, accusing the Democrat of using "scare tactics" to attack Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal and GOP views on immigration reform.

"President Obama should be ashamed of himself," Gingrich said. He assailed Obama's foreign policy as "a very, very discouraging mess" and labeled his energy policy "anti-American."

Gingrich, 67, said that in the 12 years that have passed since he last held office he's become "more mature."

"I've had time to reflect on what worked and what didn't work," he said.

In 1994 Gingrich led Republicans to their first majority in the House in four decades and then served four turbulent years as speaker.

After a party setback in the November 1998 elections, he announced abruptly he would be stepping down as speaker and, though re-elected by his district in Georgia, would retire from the House. He left in the face of a leadership challenge, with some Republicans disillusioned with his temperament.

During his speakership Gingrich was reprimanded by the House in 1997 and agreed to pay a $300,000 assessment for the costs of an investigation into questions about the political use of a tax-exempt college course he offered.

He later acknowledged having carried on an affair with a congressional aide, now his third wife, at the same time he was criticizing President Bill Clinton for his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The Fox News interview was the start of a media blitz. He'll speak to the Georgia Republican Party Convention in Macon on Friday night, appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday and barnstorm through Iowa next week.

Gingrich had been publicly flirting with the race for months and sparked stories about his candidacy days before the official announcement. He said Monday he would seek the Republican nomination, telling fans to tune into Fox News, where he had been a paid commentator for years, to hear a talk about his presidential run.

He joins a Republican field still taking shape.



Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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