Election 101: Ten questions about Newt Gingrich as a presidential candidate

Newt Gingrich, best known for engineering the 1994 Republican Revolution, is using the revolutionary social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter to promote his "run for President." The former speaker is a masterful strategist with a brilliant political mind. But a rocky marital record and a penchant for flame-throwing may jeopardize his candidacy.

1. Why is Gingrich running now?

AP Photo/David Goldman
In this April 13, 2011 file photo, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich arrives for a 2012 presidential exploratory committee fundraising event in Atlanta on April 13. He announced Wednesday he is running for president.

In a nutshell, Gingrich is running because the field is wide open and he’s not getting any younger, several analysts say. And in Gingrich’s case, says James Broussard, a GOP expert and professor of history at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., ego is a big factor.

“Everybody runs for president because either they have a giant ego or they think that their prescription for the country is better,” says Professor Broussard. “In his case it’s both.”

Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University in Washington, D.C., says this is “the most wide open and most interesting” Republican field in decades.

“Any major Republican player who has ever wanted to be president is bound to be tempted to jump in this time,” says Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus Research Group, a polling company.

And at 67, Gingrich isn’t getting any younger, Professor Lichtman notes. “He’s come to the end of the trail – why not take a shot?”

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