Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said he sees a U.S. House
seat in a Bay State Republican's future, favors a Scott Brown-Charlie Baker
gubernatorial face-off and lavished praise on -- of all people -- liberal
darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in a wide-ranging interview on Boston Herald
Gingrich, speaking ahead of the start of the Republican National Committee's summer meeting today in the Seaport, touted the thin herd that is the Bay State GOP as a party with potential in deep blue territory, even suggesting it can pick up a seat on Capitol Hill in 2014.
"I have a hunch we're going to pick up at least one seat in the U.S. House," Gingrich, a 2012 presidential candidate, said on Herald Radio's "Morning Meeting" show when asked about the state of Republicans in Massachusetts, who haven't held a House seat since 1996. "They can grow a very healthy party and be competitive."
Gingrich also said a potential gubernatorial primary between former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Charlie Baker could be a boost for the GOP.
It's a notion Brown, who wouldn't rule out a run at the Corner Office, told the Herald last week he is open to, but one Baker dismissed, pointing to the size of the party.
"They're both terrific people, they're both very talented. ... It would be a sign of dynamic Republican party if they both end up running," Gingrich said, prefacing that by saying he is a proponent of primaries in general.
He added that he believes the 2008 presidential showdown between then- Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made Obama "stronger, not weaker" in his run to the White House.
"They allow you to hone your message, they allow you to recruit volunteers," he said.
Gingrich wouldn't rule out his own run in 2016, but said it's not something he's "focused" on. The presidential potential of Warren, who defeated Brown in November, remains to be seen, he said, but he does see big things for her.
"I think that Sen. Warren is going to emerge as the leading liberal activist in the country. And we'll have to see where that leads her to in the long run," Gingrich said.
As for Clinton, seen as a favorite for a 2016 run, she's "formidable," Gingrich said, but "it's not that she's not beatable."
The GOP's three-day summit in the true-blue Democratic stronghold comes as featured speaker and 2016 presidential contender Chris Christie is stirring up controversy among the GOP, with a schism erupting between the New Jersey governor and the Libertarian-leaning U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Gingrich is expected to address the convention, including in a workshop. Brown and ex-Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez are also expected to attend, but officials have said that the 2012 presidential nominee, former Gov. Mitt Romney, is not expected to join them at the hotel he stayed during his election night defeat.
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