Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich Photo by AP
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Newt Gingrich is perhaps the most familiar and veteran face of all the Republican candidates vying for a place in the White House in 2012.

As the race got underway, however, he found himself passed in the polls by even fresh-faced candidates like the conservative congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

The media seemed to rejoice at this failure in the polls, but by early December, Gingrich began picking up steam, taking the lead in Iowa which holds the first of next year's presidential nominating contests. His main rival now is Mitt Romney.

The former Speaker of the House is a declared supporter of Israel, opposed to the Palestinian Authority's bid for unilateral recognition of statehood, and has vowed to be aggressive in his approach to Iran's nuclear program.  

Birthday
June 17, 1943

State
Georgia

Previous positions

Last held office in 1999
Became Speaker of the House in the 1994 Congressional elections

Other information:
• Since leaving office, he has served as a fellow for the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover institutions (two large neoconservative think tanks.
• He also founded the Gingrich Group, and under its auspices launched the Center for Health Transformation.
• He has been called by the New York Times a "visible spokesman" for Georg Bush's health care policies.
• He is a prolific fundraiser for the Republican Party.

Chances of winning party nomination

Newt Gingrich is perhaps the most familiar and veteran face of all the Republican candidates vying for a place in the White House in 2012. His chances have surged as the official primaries approach, and he is now second to Mitt Romney.

On Israel

"As a demonstration of this new resolve, the United States should move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Israel has every right as a sovereign free nation to choose its own capitol and we should respect that choice. As President, on my first day in office, I would issue an executive order directing the U.S. embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem as provided for in the legislation I introduced in Congress in 1995."

On Palestinian UN bid

"A vote by civilized nations in the General Assembly to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state would strengthen terrorists' belief that their commitment to violence and their unwavering rejection of Israel's right to exist has begun to produce their desired goals.

President Obama and the State Department must be clear in their discussions with our Western allies, to remember the mistakes of history and to reject this unilateral action that would reward terrorist groups who refuse to abide by the basic principles of human dignity and freedom. 

The United States must also establish an aggressive new strategy of taking back the United Nations from the forces of terrorism and dictatorship. Furthermore, the United States must be prepared to suspend all funding to the United Nations if the General Assembly moves to recognize a Palestinian state under the control of Hamas. Hamas goes well beyond words in its effort to destroy Israel". 

On the massacre of the Fogel family in the Itamar settlement

"Terrorists of the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade broke into the West Bank home of Udi and Ruth Fogel in Itamar. The terrorists stabbed this husband and wife to death. They murdered three of their children. Not even the youngest of these children, a three-month-old baby girl named Hadas, was spared. They slit the child’s throat, and severed her head from her body. In Gaza, crowds handed out candy and celebrated. This sickening display of jubilation at the gruesome murder of a three-month-old child is the result of decades upon decades of brainwashing Palestinian children. It is an example of the kind of barbaric acts of terror that must be rejected by all Palestinians in any peace negotiation with Israel.

The USIA helped America win the Cold War and it can help us win the war against evil terrorist organizations and dictatorships. But to do this we must ensure that the USIA once again has independent board of governors reporting to the President and coordinating with the State Department but not controlled by the diplomats.

Never again should a three-month-old baby be killed without the entire world being repulsed and joining together in condemning such terrorists and their supporters".

On Iran

"We must aggressively confront the growing threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. The existence of the Iranian regime pursuing nuclear weapons and financing terrorism across the globe is a primary threat to the security of the United States, Israel and our allies in the world. The United States must lead the world in an all-out effort to replace the Iranian dictatorship using the diplomatic, economic, information, political, and covert tools President Reagan used to defeat and dismantle the Soviet Empire".