Gingrich should stay focused on fiscal discipline, friend and former adviser says
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced he is running for president in 2012.
May 11th, 2011
08:39 PM ET

Gingrich should stay focused on fiscal discipline, friend and former adviser says

As Newt Gingrich prepares his candidacy for the 2012 presidential nomination, he needs to remind people of what he accomplished as speaker of the House dureing the Clinton administration, his former campaign chairman said.

Gingrich announced via Twitter Wednesday that he is a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. His agenda includes overturning health care reform and eliminating the EPA.

Gingrich needs to remind GOP voters, especially the fiscally conservative, that he worked "to bring President Clinton to the table to bring a balanced budget, that he worked to reduce capital gains, that he worked to reform welfare," political consultant Matt Towery said.

At the same time, Gingrich should not talk up too many issues and ideas, just stay focused on the fiscal discipline matters that are driving much of the national debate, Towery said in an interview with CNN Radio.

Towery, a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, served as campaign chairman for Gingrich and chief strategist for numerous national political campaigns. He said he is not working on Gingrich's campaign.

It won't be easy for Gingrich to deal with social conservatives when it comes to his personal life, which includes an affair while his first wife was stricken with cancer and a second while he was leading the Clinton impeachment proceedings. But the transgressions are not necessarily a deal-breaker, Towery said.

“Most people ... really don’t care about that issue,” Towery said. “They’re more concerned about whether they have a job, food on the table and the like.”

Gingrich has been facing up to his indiscretions in interviews, the Atlanta-based attorney and businessman said. Plus, “neither of his two former wives have come out against him.”

Listen to the full interview here:

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Gingrich announces presidential candidacy via Twitter
May 11th, 2011
04:33 PM ET

Gingrich announces presidential candidacy via Twitter

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced via Twitter Wednesday that he is a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Wednesday's intriguing people
The rapper Common will be a guest at the White House.
May 11th, 2011
11:17 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people


The hip-hop performer and mainstream movie actor with a longtime reputation for his star power and socially conscious lyrics will be among a number of artists appearing with first lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday at a White House event honoring poetry. Conservatives including Karl Rove, Sean Hannity and Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are lambasting the invitation based on Common's 2007 performance on HBO's "Def Poetry," which is now posted on YouTube.

In "Letter to the Law," Common rapped about government corruption and police abuse in the inner city. He also criticized President George W. Bush's involvement in Iraq. "Burn a Bush 'cos for peace he no push no button," the artist said. "Killing over oil and grease/ no weapons of destruction."

Palin was the first to bring the clip national attention when she sent a Twitter message linking to a story about the poetry in the right-leaning website The Daily Caller. "Oh lovely, White House," Palin said.

By Tuesday night, Rove, Bush's top adviser turned Fox News commentator, was on the record calling Common "a thug." Hannity used his Fox program to accuse Common of previous drug use and promiscuity. Common has appeared in films such as "Terminator Salvation," "Date Night" and, most recently, "Just Wright" with Queen Latifah. He also starred in a Gap ad, "Peace, Love, the Gap."


On the Radar: Louisiana flooding, Iran hikers, college shooting, Newt Gingrich
A bathtub in the yard of a home in Cairo, Illinois, on Wednesday, surrounded by Mississippi River water.
May 11th, 2011
07:52 AM ET

On the Radar: Louisiana flooding, Iran hikers, college shooting, Newt Gingrich

Louisiana flooding - As many as three million acres in Louisiana could be flooded by the surging Mississippi River, according to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is urging residents to take precautions immediately. Rising water could reach levels unseen since 1927, which has many people fearful. The region is still trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Flooding has already forced casinos in Tunica, Mississippi, to close. About 600 people in Tunica have had to leave their homes.

Iran hikers trial delay - The trial of two American men whom Iran accuses of spying has once again been delayed. A Swiss diplomat tells CNN that Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were not brought from jail to the courthouse Wednesday, and that no reason was given. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran. Sarah Shourd, a third U.S. citizen who was arrested on the border between Iraq and Iran in 2009 along with Fattal and Bauer and also accused of espionage, refused to attend Wednesday's hearing. Shourd, Bauer's fiancee, was released from an Iranian jail on bail last year and allowed to leave Iran on "humanitarian grounds."  Shourd said she would not return because she was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder after spending 14 months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

California college shooting - Three people have been killed in a shooting in a parking garage on the campus of San Jose State University. Police say it's unclear if the victims were students. The identities of the deceased have not been released pending autopsy results.

Newt Gingrich's presidential run? -  The former Republican speaker of the House is expected to officially announce Wednesday that he's running for the White House in 2012. He's already been traveling to some of the early primary states like Iowa. At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Gingrich took jabs at President Barack Obama.

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