Newt Gingrich Set to Throw His Hat in the Ring to be 2012 Republican Nominee for President


And on the issue of government shutdown, he remains totally unapologetic, writing recently in the Washington Post on Sunday: "[We] showed the country that we were serious about keeping our commitments."

Gingrich advised Republicans in Congress this time around to "work to keep the government open," but not to shy away from a shutdown if necessary.

"Those who claim that the shutdown was politically disastrous for Republicans ignore the fact that our House seat losses in 1996 were in the single digits," Gingrich wrote. "Moreover, it was the first time in 68 years that Republicans were reelected to a House majority -- and the first time that had ever happened with a Democrat winning the presidency."

He's also been married three times and acknowledged problems in his personal life, a subject he was forced to address at a recent appearance at the University of Pennsylvania and one that is likely to come up again.

"I believe in a forgiving God," Gingrich said. "If the primary concern of the American people is my past, my candidacy would be irrelevant. If the primary concern of the American people is the future ... that's a debate I'll be happy to have."

The news that Gingrich will run makes good on a promise in mid February that he would make an announcement before the end of February or in early March.

Gingrich will travel to Iowa next week to participate in a presidential candidate forum organized by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The March 7 event outside Des Moines will feature Gingrich as well as potential rivals former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Georgia businessman Herman Cain.

Gingrich has been traveling the country as he contemplates a presidential bid. Last week he headlined the annual Lincoln Day dinner in Palm Beach County, Fla.

"The American people today are demoralized, dispirited, worried and concerned because their elites have betrayed them, their system has crippled them and their government has failed them," he told the audience.

Gingrich will have plenty of competition.

A recent Gallup poll shows him finishing fourth behind former governors Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, although it's unclear whether any of them will run.

ABC News' Michael Falcone and Gregory Simmons contributed to this report.

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