Newt Gingrich Makes 2012 Republican Presidential Bid Official

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 11, 2011   |   5:12PM   |   Washington, DC

Newt Gingrich made his bid for the Republican nomination official today by unveiling a campaign video that was swamped with traffic and led to a nonfunctioning web site not long after he unveiled it on Twitter.

“Today I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. You can watch my announcement here,” Gingrich said, before sharing the URL for the video.

In a more stable announcement, Gingrich also indicated he would appear on the Sean Hannity program Wednesday night to talk with the popular Fox news host about his presidential campaign. The Washington Post indicates Gingrich will also conduct an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” this Sunday.

“I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity,” Gingrich said in the video. “We’ve done it before, we can do it again.” (Here’s Gingrich’s video separately on YouTube:

Gingrich is an official candidate for president, having not just started an exploratory committee of the ones likes former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. The two former governors plan to make their campaigns official soon. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is also expected to become an official candidate soon as is businessman Herman Cain.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin are other potential contenders in the race to oust President Barack Obama, an ardent abortion backer.

“Newt Gingrich has always been an ideas man, and I’m sure will provide a lot of positive input in the debate,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told the Post about the former Speaker.

Gingrich will follow tonight’s interview with a formal speech before the Georgia Republican party convention on Friday, in the state that elected him to Congress and from which he was elevated to the Speaker position leading the House of Representatives after the 1994 mid-term election that saw Republicans re-take Congress from Democrats for the first time in decades. Since he retired from Congress, Gingrich has become something of a top policy wonk within he Republican Party and his organization American Solutions has put out extensive policy proposals on economic and foreign policy issues and to raise money for conservative political causes.

Gingrich has been putting together the nucleus of a presidential campaign for months and, in February, launched a “testing the waters” operation that allowed him to begin more formally preparing for a presidential run.

Most polls have Gingrich, along with Huckabee, Romney and former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin as the top four among Republican voters both nationally and in several early primary states.

Gingrich maintained a very strong pro-life voting record, according to the National Right to Life Committee, and has said the Republican Party needs to be pro-life.

“I think we’re clearly a pro-life party,” he once said. “We had a vice presidential nominee who was pro-life. I don’t see [this] as a significant change. I think that it is continuity in how this party has evolved over the last 30 years.”

“I think that abortion should not be legal,” he told American View. “Abortion is a very, very important moral question and I think it’s a very important question about the very nature of society. And I think that in terms of voting on the issue and speaking on the issue I’ve been pretty clear in my entire career. I did cite at the beginning of the book, that I think that people who are not certain how they feel about “right to life,” have in fact been coming our way.”

“There should be [legal protection for unborn children,],” Gingrich added. “And I think the focus has been on doctors performing abortions. And in that sense that we want to move the society as rapidly as we can that people should select adoption rather than abortion and that choosing abortion is not acceptable.”

The former Speaker became something of a national hero and top Republican figure after he led the House. However, Gingrich’s personal life has given some conservative and Christian voters pause. He also upset conservative Republicans with some endorsements of liberal Republican candidates.