Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is very serious about running for president in 2012, according to his daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman.

"He's very serious," Cushman told the conservative newspaper Human Events in an interview posted Monday. "He’s much more serious than he ever has been. And I can tell that because we actually sat down -- just the two of us -- for two hours recently."

Gingrich floated the notion that he would be running for president in 2008, but instead founded the advocacy group American Solutions for Winning the Future. In addition to being the chairman of American Solutions, he is a regular contributor on the Fox News Channel.

He placed third with 14 percent in the Iowa Straw Poll in August, an early indicator of electoral movements in the Republican Party. Mike Huckabee came out on top and Mitt Romney followed in second place. Gingrich beat Sarah Palin, who came in at fourth place with 11 percent.

“I think he’s very concerned because when you get down to the core argument -- when you talk about taxes, when you talk about where we are -- the fundamental difference is that conservatives believe that God gave people rights and we loan them to the government," Cushman continued. "They believe, as Calvin Coolidge did, that it’s the people's money, and the government is supposed to spend it as wisely as possible."

During a speech to GOP activists in South Carolina, Gingrich assailed unemployment benefits, saying he was opposed to "giving people money for doing nothing."

In response, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow blasted his opposition to federal unemployment benefits and compared his organization American Solutions to a direct mail scam.

"Let us review for just a second how Newt Gingrich makes his money," Maddow began. "For starters, he hands out fake awards in exchange for cash."

"Newt Gingrich makes money right now running a fake awards for small businesses scam," she continued. "Last year he tried to give one of his fake awards to a small business called The Lodge in Dallas, Texas."

In exchange for a $5,000 donation, Gingrich offered The Lodge, a strip club, a certificate, a novelty gavel and a dinner with him.

"When Mr. Gingrich realized he was giving one of his fake awards -- for a $5,000 donation -- to a strip club he decided to rescind the award and the dinner invitation," Maddow noted.

"Newt Gingrich is a direct mail scam artist," she continued. "He hires the analog equivalent of spammers to troll the Yellow Pages, looking for businesses he can fool into thinking they are winning a 'Newt award,' and then he cons money out of them for accepting it."

This video is from Human Events, posted on Dec. 27, 2010.

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