- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 14, 2010

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich squashed questions Thursday about whether he’s a major Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential elections and chastised the news media for repeated questions about the shape of his campaign.

“It’s not shaping up right now,” Mr. Gingrich told The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show. “It tells you more about the news media’s fascination with the topic.”

Mr. Gingrich’s comments follow his appearance Wednesday night at a dinner in North Carolina where he said he was probably on the list of seven or eight possible Republican candidates, including former Govs. Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. He also said South Dakota Sen. John Thune was an “attractive” candidate.

“But you could also throw in Jay Leno and a three other people who are looking for jobs,” he said later, adding the list has no meaning beyond “a headline of Fox News.”

Mr. Gingrich said the focus this year should be on the country’s major issues, which include reforming health care and getting the Washington debates on cable TV.

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