Mr Gingrich said he would remain in Congress to oversee passage of the Republican Party's "Contract with America" and a planned shift of government authority from the federal to the state level.
"You've got a bunch of very fine candidates out there," he said, adding: "People who want to get involved in the presidential race ought to get involved. People who want to help us in Congress pass the `Contract' with America' and work on . . . replacing the welfare state will have to focus on that. We'll work on that for the next year and a half and we'll let the other folks run for president."
So far, three Republicans have said they intend to run for president - Bob Dole, the Senate Majority Leader; Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, and Lamar Alexander, former governor of Tennessee.