Cheney: Don’t Underestimate Gingrich Candidacy

Tuesday, 13 Dec 2011 12:11 PM

By Martin Gould

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Newt Gingrich cannot be underestimated as a candidate who can beat President Barack Obama in next November’s general election, former Vice President Dick Cheney says.

Cheney said even his own party didn’t take Gingrich seriously when he pledged in 1994 that Republicans could capture the House.

“When Newt showed up, he said we can become the majority, we can take back the House of Representatives. We hadn't had the House since the 1940s,” Cheney told CNN’s Erin Burnett, during an appearance to promote his memoir, In My Time.

“Initially none of us believed it. But he was persistent and he was tenacious. He kept it up, kept it up, and kept it up. Finally by '94 he's the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives with a Republican majority.

“So I wouldn't underestimate him.”

The two GOP veterans were both elected to the House in the 1978 election and served together for a decade before President George H.W. Bush appointed Cheney his secretary of defense.

Cheney made it clear he was not endorsing his former House colleague. “I've stayed religiously out of the fray on our side this year. I've been trying to sell books. That's where my effort's been focused.”

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