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Gingrich: A 'Great Possibility' He'll Get Into 2008 Presidential Race

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Monday there is a very good chance he'll get into the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, but he won't decide until after September.

``I think right now that it is a great possibility,'' Gingrich said. ``I don't want to get into all this stuff. I want to focus on what we have to do to make America successful.''

Gingrich said he plans to hold a workshop on solutions facing the country in September, after which he'll make a decision on whether to launch a presidential bid.

He made the comments Monday on ABC's ``Good Morning America.''

Gingrich left Congress when Republicans lost seats in the 1998 elections after a campaign that highlighted then-President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Asked about former first lady and Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton's White House prospects, Gingrich said:

``I think she has a very good chance of winning the presidency. ... I think unless Republicans are as committed to very fundamental change in Washington that they will almost certainly lose the election.''

Gingrich was promoting his new historical fiction novel, ``Pearl Harbor.'' In the book, written with historian William R. Forstchen, the Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet is far more devastating than it actually was.

Today, a nuclear or biological weapon could wipe out more of Manhattan than the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he said.

Gingrich was promoting his new historical fiction novel, ``Pearl Harbor.'' In the book, written with historian William R. Forstchen, the Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet is far more devastating than it actually was.

Today, a nuclear or biological weapon could wipe out more of Manhattan than the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he said.

``President Roosevelt, prior to Pearl Harbor, had almost exactly the same problem,'' Gingrich said. ``How do you convince a peaceful people in a democracy that the world can be very dangerous, and that if we are not prepared to meet the danger, that it can come right here, as it did both on 9/11 and as it did at Pearl Harbor.''


WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd will begin airing commercials in Iowa and New Hampshire this week as well as on cable, making him the latest to take to the airwaves in key nominating states.

Campaign officials confirmed that the ads, which will run in several Iowa markets and in Manchester, N.H., will cost more than $120,000. The campaign also plans to air the ad on national cable.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is running ads in Iowa that spoof his low standing as a Democratic candidate despite his vast experience in government. Richardson is spending about the same as Dodd. John Edwards, the former Democratic senator from North Carolina, is running a less extensive ad campaign in Iowa calling on Congress to confront Bush on the war in Iraq.

Former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney so far has spent the most on ads with biographical commercials and commercials that promote his fiscal conservatism. He spent $2 million in the first three months of the year and is in the midst of another $2 million effort.


TETERBORO, N.J. (AP) _ Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Monday he won't take the black vote for granted, especially since rival Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, former President Clinton, have established strong ties with the community.

``I expect to have to earn it,'' said Obama, who also accepted the endorsements of two mayors. ``I think that the African-American community is sophisticated, like any group of voters, and they're going to make up their minds based on whether they think I have the leadership capacity and the agenda that's going to make their lives better.''

Obama acknowledged strong competition in a crowded Democratic primary season in New Jersey and in other states. Sen. Clinton is the front-runner in the race, leading Obama in popularity polls.

Obama received the backing Monday of Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy.

The Newark mayor said over the weekend that he also would be part of Obama's campaign leadership in New Jersey. Booker has been linked with Obama as part of a new generation of black leaders.

``It's time that we have a national leader that's going to raise us around our highest common ideals and remind us that we have more in common as a people than we do that divides us,'' Booker said Saturday.

Several other high-ranking Democrats in New Jersey have already announced their support for presidential candidates. Senate President Richard J. Codey is supporting former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, while Gov. Jon S. Corzine has endorsed Hillary Clinton.


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton picked up the endorsements of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and other home-state Democrats on Monday.

Spitzer, who said Clinton had the guts needed for the job, officially delivered his blessing on the steps of the statehouse where he was joined by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, among others.

``Let's put America in a New York state of mind,'' Silver suggested.

For her part, Clinton stuck largely to her standard speech and criticized the Bush administration. She also told those on hand to pull out their cell phones at the end of her speech as she unveiled a new way to communicate with her campaign _ text messaging.

``If it's new to you, ask for help from somebody, especially a young person who's nearby,'' she suggested.

Rival John Edwards started text messaging in December.

The Clinton camp had worked hard at turning out a big crowd in Albany, sending out e-mail invites urging people to attend.

But state Sen. Ruben Diaz, a Bronx Democrat, urged fellow Hispanic elected officials to boycott the Clinton event, saying she and other presidential candidates aren't paying enough attention to the Hispanic community.

``We can no longer be expected to energize our base if our leaders and issues are being ignored,'' Diaz said in a statement.

The Clinton camp noted that plenty of Hispanic leaders have already lined up with Clinton, including Rep. Jose E. Serrano of the Bronx and his son, state Sen. Jose M. Serrano, and California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.


BOSTON (AP) _ While Republican Mitt Romney is hawkish on the presidential campaign trail, none of his five sons has served in the military and one of them says it troubles him.

``I feel guilty not having done it,'' Josh Romney, the 31-year-old middle son, said amid a profile of his father broadcast Sunday on the CBS News program ``60 Minutes.''

Matt Romney, at 35 the second eldest son, also told interviewer Mike Wallace, ``I hope to be able to make a sacrifice of that caliber at some point in my life.''

Ben Romney, 28, the second youngest, said: ``I've seen a lot and read a lot that has made me say, `My goodness, I hope I never have to do that.'''

All five of the Romney sons, who now range in age from 26 to 37, served two years as church missionaries, a practice within their Mormon faith.

Mitt Romney himself also served as a Mormon missionary, which enabled him to receive a draft deferment from the Vietnam War. In addition, he received a college deferment. When he finally was draft eligible, he received a high lottery number and never was drafted.

On the stump, Romney argues for a robust national defense. He says he wants to add 100,000 troops to the U.S. military and commit 4 percent of the gross domestic product to funding the armed forces.

He also has defended the current all-volunteer military, saying he doesn't envision the need to return to a Vietnam-style draft.
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