Update: Pump fake! Looks like it’s not going to happen Thursday.
Looks like Newt is gonna be the first to enter the horse race!
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will launch a presidential “exploratory” campaign this week, becoming the first big-name GOP candidate to take a formal step toward a White House bid.
A senior Republican official confirmed the news, first reported by ABC, to National Journal.
Gingrich already has planned two trips this month to states where the first presidential contests will take place next year: He’s scheduled an appearance in Iowa on March 7 and one in New Hampshire on March. 17.
He brings major assets — and baggage — to the 2012 campaign. But several Republicans who served with Gingrich think the pluses outweigh everything else. Read more
And so it begins…