Newt Gingrich likely won’t attend first 2012 primary debate

Holly Bailey
The Ticket

Newt Gingrich might be on the verge of delaying his potential 2012 presidential bid yet again.

Less than two weeks ago, the former House Speaker, who is currently officially unofficially exploring a 2012 run, said he would decide by May 1 whether he'll run for the White House.

But Rick Tyler, a top Gingrich aide, told The Hill's Shane D'Aprile that it's "highly unlikely" his boss will participate in next month's Fox News 2012 GOP primary debate in South Carolina on May 5.

The problem: Fox News is requiring all participants in the debate to have formally launched an exploratory committee or formal campaign by April 29. According to Tyler, Gingrich won't meet the debate's criteria.

It seems unlikely that Gingrich would launch his 2012 effort by May 1—as he pledged—and then not participate in the Fox News debate, which is the first major cattle call of 2012 contenders ahead of next year's election.

(Photo of Gingrich: Alex Hicks Jr/Spartanberg Herald-Journal via AP)