Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) won’t say until next year whether he’ll run for president in 2012, but he’s already picked up an unusual endorsement. During a joint appearance on "Fox News Sunday," former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean praised Gingrich’s “intellectual leadership” and said he hopes Gingrich will run for the White House.
“I don’t agree with very much that Newt Gingrich wants to do,” Dean said. “But … Newt has a ton of ideas to move the country forward. He did when he was speaker. There are no ideas in the Republican Party right now in the Congress. They’re the party of no. …Whatever you think of Newt Gingrich, he can supply intellectual leadership. So I hope he does run.”
In response, Gingrich joked that Dean’s support means he likely won’t survive the primaries. “Here’s my opponent’s clip,” he said.
The backhanded endorsement came after the two men sparred over the Shirley Sherrod controversy. Dean trashed Fox News’s coverage of the incident as “absolutely racist.” “They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip,” Dean said. He pointed to recent coverage of “phony Black Panther crap” and reporting on Sonia Sotomayor as Fox’s obsession with “black racism.” Host Chris Wallace defended the network, noting that Fox covered Sherrod only after she was fired by the administration. You can watch the full segment here: