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Alex Brandon/AP
United States

Gingrich joins race to contest 2012 US election

The former Speaker of the house – and adversary of Bill Clinton – formally declares himself a candidate for the Republican ticket.

FORMER SPEAKER of the US house of representatives, Newt Gingrich, has formally declared his bid for the Presidency of the United States – joining an increasingly crowded field of official and potential Republican candidates.

Gingrich, who was the Speaker of the house and therefore de facto Republican leader during the presidency of Bill Clinton, made his announcement yesterday on Twitter.

Promising to forge a new ‘Contract with America’, the former Georgia congressman told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that he wanted the current Republican leadership in the congress – current Speaker John Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell – to help him in formulating an all-Republican agenda.

“If we had a contract in the fall of 2012 and we had an election on core principles, we would have a mandate on the very first day,” Gingrich, 67, is quoted by Bloomberg as saying.

Gingrich was the architect of the original ‘Contract with America’, presented ahead of the mid-term elections of 1994, and became the first Republican Speaker since 1955.

As Speaker he engaged in many bitter disputes with Clinton, including a budget snag that resulted in two quick-fire government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996.

That dispute was apparently contributed to by a dispute over seating arrangements on Air Force One, which resulted in the heavy defeat of Republican candidate Bob Dole in the 1996 election.

Remaining on as Speaker, Gingrich was the champion of the cause to impeach Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky – though he resigned as Speaker after a poor performance in the 1998 mid-terms before the Senate voted to acquit Clinton on his charges.

Though Gingrich is the first Republican to officially declare his candidacy, a slew of senior Republican and outsider figures have already begun filing paperwork to begin fundraising for campaigns.

Among the figures who have filed paperwork are previous candidates Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, as well as Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum; other likely candidates include former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former governors Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee and Jon Huntsman, as well as Donald Trump.

New York entertainer Robert Burck – better known as the ‘Naked Cowboy’ – has also indicated his intention to run on a Tea Party platform.

Incumbent president Barack Obama will be contested for the Democratic nomination by another New Yorker, pro-life activist Randall Terry.

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