ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Newt Gingrich says “it’s clear the country is talking to itself” and what they’re saying is: “We need Newt Gingrich.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that will be broadcast Wednesday night, Gingrich acknowledges that even he’s been surprised by his rapid rise in the GOP primary field.
“Whereas I would have thought originally it was going to be Mitt and not-Mitt, I think it’s going to — it may turn out to be Newt and not-Newt,” Gingrich tells Hannity, according to excerpts of the interview . “And that’s a very different formula than, frankly — I mean we’re having to redesign our campaign strategy because we’re at least 60 days ahead of where I thought we’d be.”
When asked about his ties to Freddie Mac and his business interests as head of the Gingrich Group, the former House Speaker said that the media and the Obama campaign were out to get him.
“Some elements of the press — largely the Obama reelection team — are determined to distort everything they can,” he said.
Gingrich said he considers himself “the more conservative candidate by any rational standard” as well as the most electable.
Among the qualifications he listed: “I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply side economics. I helped lead the effort to defeat communism in the Congress.”
And in the interview, which will air at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, he offered mostly praise for his opponents.
According to Gingrich, Michele Bachmann “brings a lot to the table”; Herman Cain “is a very good businessman”; Mitt Romney “is a great manager”; Rick Santorum “is a genuine expert on Iran and foreign policy.”
“I think of them as my friends,” Gingrich added. “I have one opponent, Barack Obama.”