Newt Gingrich hints he would consider picking Sarah Palin for VP

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) Charlie Riedel

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Charlie Riedel

Newt Gingrich, plunging in the polls, dropped this bomb Wednesday: he would consider asking Sarah Palin to serve as his number two or in his Cabinet if he became president.

"She is certainly one of the people you would look at," Gingrich said Wednesday, according to Right Wing Watch, when asked if he would consider tapping the 2008 vice presidential nominee for a second try.

"I am a great admirer of hers and she was a remarkable reform governor of Alaska, she's somebody who I think brings a great deal to the possibility of helping in government and that would be one of the possibilities," Gingrich said at Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition.

And if he did not pick her for his running mate and he defeated President Obama in the November general election, he would consider putting her in the Cabinet, the site reports.

"There are also some very important Cabinet positions that she could fill very, very well. I can't imagine anybody who would do a better job of driving us to an energy solution than Gov. Palin, for example. Tell her that she would certainly be on the list of one of the people we would consider," the former House speaker said.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the former Republican nominee for president, tapped Palin in his 2008 bid for the White House in an effort to energize many conservative voters skeptical of McCain's credentials. Former McCain aide Steve Schmidt, who was instrumental in the Palin pick, later came to regret the decision.

CBS News contributor Scott Conroy reported last month that Gingrich is most likely to get Palin's endorsement if she decides to officially back anyone before the nomination is wrapped up.

Palin and her husband Todd "speak very favorably of Newt and what they see as his credentials as compared to Perry and Romney," one member of Palin's inner circle said.

Full CBS News coverage: Newt Gingrich

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    CBSNews.com Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.

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