CBS is reporting that Newt Gingrich will likely announce his decision on whether or not to run for president later this week, while the Atlanta Journal Constitution is saying his announcement will be that he’s forming an exploratory committee.
I personally find these leaks about pending announcements with no decision towards actually running to be quite annoying and cynical ploys on the part of “candidates” to stretch out interest in their decision without actually giving the public anything to assess them on in return. It’s pure horse race, nothing else. We can expect Newt to keep this up with his exploratory committee, once it’s formed. Mike Huckabee will play this out too. And Sarah Palin will remain the master at stringing out a decision on whether or not to run for president. Obviously there is a certain art for candidates-to-be and their operatives to stringing out a story about the decision to run for president. But at a certain point, it just becomes silly.
What’s so unique about this Republican primary cycle is that there are so few formally interested candidates. By time in 2007, Tom Tancredo and Jim Gilmore had formed exploratory committees. Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, and Mike Huckabee had formally announced their campaigns, while John McCain had already announced he would start his campaign in April. The Democratic field was equally robust. This time around, no one from the GOP is rushing forward to join the fray. Perhaps this is because the inevitable winner will have to raise around $1 billion by the time the race is decided. Perhaps it’s because none of them think President Obama will be a pushover. But continued delays certainly do not suggest strength by any of the Republican party’s potential candidates.