Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren he's excited about the Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate with Donald Trump, and doesn't understand why anybody would turn down the opportunity.
Asked what he thought of other candidates turning down the debate, Gingrich said it's a sign of weakness.
"I don’t understand it," Gingrich said. "Everybody’s got to do their own thing, but I’ve gotten where I am because of the debates, because people got to see where we are. I think if you’re afraid to debate with Donald Trump, people are going to say, ‘So you think you could debate Barack Obama ..."
"I think people would characterize that as a very weak position."
The mention was an obvious dig to former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney who called Trump and turned down his invitation to the Dec. 27 debate. Thus far, Gingrich and Rick Santorum have agreed to take part.
Gingrich said the chance to debate with Trump as moderator is something that just 'breaks out" on the campaign trail and could help voters make a decision on the tumultuous 2012 race.
"I assume it’s the apprentice presidency," Gingrich said, referring to the debate. "I can’t imagine what it will be like, which is part of why…. This is very serious business, picking the president of the United States. We all have to be very serious but, every once and a while on the campaign trail, to have something that just breaks out, is good.
"I believe that having Donald Trump in that kind of environment will absolutely be amazing."
What if Trump asked him a "birther question," Greta asked Gingrich.
"I would answer it. I think the president was born in Hawaii. In my mind, it’s very clear the president was born in Hawaii.
Gingrich also said he didn't think Trump will launch a third party bid, a fear among some Republicans.
"I don’t think he’ll run for president, and for practical reason, which you just showed. He’s enormously frustrated with Barack Obama. He thinks Obama is killing the economy of this country and is a terrible president and he knows that any third party would help re-elect Barack Obama. I don’t think Donald Trump does anything foolish. I think it would be foolish to have a third party when Barack Obama is up for re-election.
The debate, which will be available in 99 million homes throughout America on the ION Television network, will be streamed on Newsmax.com, the nation’s leading conservative website.
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