July 6, 1995 in Nation/World

Campaign, Uh, Book Tour Begins Gingrich Launches Trip To Sell ‘To Renew America’

Associated Press

Newt Gingrich, calling himself his party’s emotional leader, embarked Wednesday on a national book tour that coincides with the runup to the presidential primary season. “It’s all pure luck,” he said of the timing.

The House speaker is taking advantage of it - both to sell books and introduce himself to potential voters in friendly book-and-author settings.

“I think it will help people understand me better,” Gingrich said of his book, “To Renew America” in an interview with The Associated Press. The book summarizes what he thinks ails the country and how he would fix it.

A packed schedule of interviews, radio shows, speeches and book signings Wednesday through Friday in Washington and New York is a prelude to a 25-city August tour. His stated objective is to sell as many books as possible. But Gingrich acknowledges there may be spinoff benefits as well.

Gingrich has been flirting with the idea of running for president ever since the Republican landslide last November and his elevation in January to the speakership. He said recently he would not make a final decision until Dec. 15, the deadline to file for the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary.

“If you are speaker of the House and you have nationwide name ID, there’s no practical reason to say ‘no, I won’t run”’ at this point, Gingrich said in the interview. “Things change.”

Gingrich, R-Ga., said that doesn’t mean he presumes Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole’s front-running campaign will collapse.

“I am emotionally the leader of the party,” Gingrich said. But he said many of his most enthusiastic supporters, at least right now, want him to continue as speaker and finish the business of the “Republican revolution.”

Gingrich summed up his relations with the current GOP presidential field this way:

“I’m very close to (Texas Sen.) Phil Gramm psychologically. I’m very close to Dole functionally because we’re the two leaders of the House and Senate. I’ve known Lamar (Alexander, former education secretary) for years. I’ve known (California Gov. Pete) Wilson for years. I used to do (Pat) Buchanan’s show on radio when he would take leave … and (California Rep. Bob) Dornan and I are friends.”

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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