Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is set to take steps this week towards exploring a possible presidential run, but he hasn’t convinced conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to support him.
In an interview with C-SPAN Wednesday, Coburn was clear that the former speaker wouldn’t be getting his vote in the Republican presidential primary.
“He is undoubtedly the smartest man I’ve ever met,” he said. “The question to me is, does he have the capability to lead the country? And having served under him in the House, he is probably not one that I would choose to support in a presidential primary.”
“We need somebody that’s soft and wide-eyed open and is stable and learned and is going to consistently bring us together rather than alienate us,” Coburn added.
“We need somebody whose eye is critical, but is not harsh in their manner.”
Coburn declined to say if there was anyone in the Republican Party that he would support in the presidential primary.
In August, Coburn cited the Georgia Republican’s character as a reason for not supporting him.
“He’s the last person I’d vote for for president of the United States,” he told the Tulsa World. “His life indicates he does not have a commitment to the character traits necessary to be a great president.”
Coburn added that Gingrich, who has been married three times and divorced twice, “doesn’t know anything about commitment to marriage.”
The former speaker is expected to announce a presidential exploratory committee Thursday.
Fox News had employed Gingrich as a paid contributor, but suspended him and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) Wednesday.
This video is from C-SPAN, broadcast March 2, 2011.