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

Sources: Former House Speaker Will form 2012 Exploratory Comm.

ByABC News
February 28, 2011, 7:24 PM

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2011— -- Newt Gingrich, his advisors say, will make his first step toward a presidential run this week.

But what will that step be? Tonight Newt's own political team appears divided on that question.

On one hand, there's Joe Gaylord, who for two decades has been Gingrich's closest political advisor. He is quoted in the Des Moines Register tonight saying Gingrich will announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee Thursday in Atlanta.

"It's exactly that, an exploratory committee," Gaylord told the Des Moines Register.

On the other hand, there's Gingrich's own spokesman, who put out a statement tonight saying that Gaylord had made "a significantly inaccurate statement."

In a written statement entitled "Clarification: Purpose of Gingrich Visit to Georgia," Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler says that Gingrich is making a long-scheduled visit that has nothing to do with forming an exploratory committee.

"Gingrich is not travelling to Georgia to announce that he will form 'an exploratory committee' as stated in the Des Moines Register," Tyler said in the statement. "To be clear, while Speaker Gingrich is in Georgia on Thursday, he will NOT announce the formation of an exploratory committee."

A source close to Gingrich says that, for legal reasons, Gingrich is prepared to announce something called "an explore phase" that will allow him to prepare for a presidential run.

This "explore phase," the source says, is different legally from "an exploratory committee."

At any rate, Gingrich will answer questions about all this in Atlanta on Thursday following an event he is doing with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to announce the formation of a "Tenth Amendment Team" to defend Georgia's 10th Amendment rights.

Gingrich's travel schedule is already looking like that of a presidential candidate. He will be in Iowa on March 7 and ABC News has learned he will in New Hampshire March 17.