Newt looks booked for a White House bid

After six months of squabbling, Newt Gingrich's multi-million-dollar book show is finally on the road. The question that now titillates political Washington is - will a planned national tour this summer promote not a book but a Gingrich run for the presidency?

On Thursday the House Speaker's controversial literary career took a major step forward as a hopelessly divided House ethics committee, which has been looking into allegations of impropriety against him, abandoned its efforts to come up with an agreed recommendation.

That same evening, Mr Gingrich was in New York signing a contract with Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins for To Renew America, the ideological manifesto for which he was to get an advance of $4.5m (pounds 2.8m) until a public outcry forced him to scale that sum down to a more modest sum of just $1. He will, however, receive 15 per cent royalties on hardback, and 7.5 per cent on paperback sales.

With the book written and the presses about to roll off the first 500,000 copies, attention is shifting to the 25-city book tour being organised by his publishers. For Mr Gingrich's Democratic foes, it is another example of the Speaker using his public office for private gain. HarperCollins, which will foot the bill, demurs: the tour is a "traditional" exercise "befitting a high-profile celebrity", a spokesman said. Others, however, see a deeper design.

As the most famous Republican in the land, Mr Gingrich is naturally suspected of harbouring White House ambitions. Not so, he insists: he has "no plans" to run. But his refusal flatly to rule out a 1996 presidential bid, and a much-remarked trip next month to New Hampshire, scene of the ever-crucial first primary election, has been more than enough to keep the pot of speculation bubbling - even though Mr Gingrich jests that his main purpose in going is to "eyeball a moose". According to some accounts, an unfortunate animal has already been lined up for the encounter.

In part, talk of a Gingrich candidacy reflects no more than the ennui of Washington punditry. But it also betrays a feeling among Republicans that without Mr Gingrich, the campaign will have no conduit for the energy and fervour which swept the party to its stunning takeover of Congress last November. Hence, perhaps, the prediction by certain right-wing columnists that the publisher Malcolm Forbes Jnr, a committed "supply-sider'' and almost as colourful as his balloon-flying billionaire father, will join the fray. But a Forbes, they wistfully admit, is not a patch on a Gingrich.

But time remains, and the book tour would be a perfect launch-pad for a campaign. Democrats are leaping to the attack, muttering darkly about a Gingrich challenge bankrolled by Mr Murdoch. And conspiracy theorists have not far to look for proof. Was it not just this week, they note, that the House Commerce Committee, supported by Mr Gingrich, approved a media deregulation package benefiting, among others, Rupert Murdoch?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks
tv

Regular cast member Ste Hay, played by Kieron Richardson, is about to test TV boundaries

Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
techPerils of 'text neck' revealed
News
i100
News
Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt
peopleStonewall boss says many fear it could ruin their careers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

Isis takes a big step back

Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits: How to shop politically

How to shop politically

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits
The science of sex: What happens when science meets erotica

Sex on the brain

Fetishes, dominatrixes, kinks and erotica. They are subjects that should get the crowds flocking to a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection