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Newt Gingrich Shoots Down Speakership Buzz

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 11/10/2015 Elise Foley
ATHENA IMAGE © (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press) ATHENA IMAGE

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich caused some stir last week when he told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he was open to returning to lead the lower chamber.

But he's not expecting that to happen, and said "yes" only because of the way the question was asked, the 2012 presidential candidate told host Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

"Well, no citizen is going to say, 'I would turn that down,' but the odds against that happening are enormous, it is totally implausible, and Callista and I are making no plans to return to Capitol Hill," Gingrich said, referring to his wife, Callista Gingrich.

He added that when she heard it, his wife "broke up laughing and said that Sean had mousetrapped" him.

House Republicans are searching for a new speaker after John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced plans to step down at the end of the month, and the favored candidate to replace him, current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), abruptly dropped out of the running on Thursday.

Shortly after, Hannity asked Gingrich if he would be open to becoming House speaker again, if he was nominated and had the votes. The speaker of the House does not technically need to be serving in the chamber.

Gingrich chuckled at the idea and said he couldn't imagine such a circumstance, but didn't completely brush it off.

"If you were to say to me 218 have called you up and given you their pledge, obviously no citizen could ever turn down that kind of challenge," he told Hannity.

Many Republicans are calling for past vice presidential candidate and current House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to run for speaker. Thus far, he has said he is not joining the race.

Gingrich joined others in praising Ryan, but said the congressman should be careful about taking on such a position with so many tough votes coming up and plenty of opportunities to anger the party the same way Boehner did.

"I think Paul should be very cautious," Gingrich said. "He is the most prestigious member of the House on the Republican side, he has the best future, he's still very young. It's easy to get 218 on the first vote, then you get to keeping the government open through a continuing resolution, then you get to the debt ceiling. If you're not careful, by Christmas you resemble John Boehner. Because these things are hard."

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