Gingrich Says He’s ‘Closer’ to Running for President Than Not

BY Quinn Bowman  March 25, 2011 at 6:18 PM EDT

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday that he is four or five weeks away from officially jumping into the presidential race, saying he is closer to running than not running, while also rejecting the idea that likability is an important factor in determining who becomes president.

Gingrich made his remarks in an interview with Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program Friday in which he discussed his potential weaknesses as a candidate, his perception of how voters choose a leader and his timetable for entering the race.

You can watch Gingrich’s comments below in this clip from IPTV:

The entire “Iowa Press” interview with Gingrich is available online here.

Gingrich disagreed with The Associated Press’ Mike Glover during the segment that presidential elections resemble elections for class president in which voters choose the most-likable candidate.

“I don’t think it’s the class presidency. It’s a question at one level what kind of America are we going to become. How are we going to solve the very real problems we are faced with? And who do we think has both the right principles and the personal capacity to execute those principles in the hardest job in the world?” Gingrich said. He added that voters will decide if he is likable enough to be elected.

Gingrich also addressed the issue of his two failed marriages and whether those would have an impact on conservative voters in the Iowa caucuses.

“I think you share your life’s experiences and you admit that you’ve had weaknesses and that you’ve had failures and that you’ve gone to God to seek forgiveness and to seek reconciliation. And then (voters) make a decision,” Gingrich said.

While Gingrich has not made an official announcement about his candidacy, he has said he expects to be in the race and has been visiting early voting states Iowa and New Hampshire.