Pelosi: Gingrich presidency "not going to happen"

CNN

Even as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich rises in the Republican presidential polls, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she's confident a Gingrich presidency is "not going to happen."

"Let me just say this. That will never happen. He's not going to be President of the United States," Pelosi told CNN's John King in an interview on Tuesday. "That's not going to happen. Let me just make my prediction and stand by it: it isn't going to happen."

When pressed on why she was so sure, Pelosi said: "There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him, that's their prerogative. I don't even think that's going to happen."

In a statement, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said Pelosi was not alluding to any confidential knowledge with the comment that knows "something."

"The 'something' Leader Pelosi knows is that Newt Gingrich will not be President of the United States. She made that clear last night," Hammill said. "Leader Pelosi previously made a reference to the extensive amount of information that is in the public record, including the comprehensive committee report with which the public may not be fully aware."

The Democratic leader, who served on a four-person ethics committee that investigated Gingrich in the 1990s, has said in the past that "I know a lot about" Gingrich, and that "one of these days we'll have a conversation" about him. But when it was suggested that Pelosi was suggesting in those comments to the possibility of leaking private records from the ethics investigation, Hammill insisted she was referring to "information that is in the public record." 

The committee looked into 84 counts of ethical wrongdoing against Gingrich, and ultimately, they voted to reprimand and fine him for wrongdoing involving breaches of tax law and making misrepresentations to Congress. It's unknown if Pelosi was privy to any confidential information surrounding the ethics investigation, but Gingrich himself has pointed to a 900 page report on the investigation that is available to the public.

In a response to Pelosi in an interview with the radio show "America's Morning News," Gingrich dismissed her comments as "hysterical" and "factually incorrect."

"As my campaign has gotten stronger, the attacks have become more hysterical and more factually incorrect," he said. "I have a simple challenge for speaker Pelosi: to speak up or shut up. I have no idea what she's talking about, I don't think she has any idea what she's talking about. But bring it on."

On CNN, Pelosi also addressed Gingrich's previous comments that appearing in a commercial alongside his former fellow speaker to address climate change was "the dumbest thing I've done in the last four years."

Pelosi said it was hard to quantify what she thought was Gingrich's "dumbest" move, but pointed to his House ethics violation as one of them.

"I think he's done plenty of dumb things and there's stiff competition for what is the dumbest thing he's done, of course, including his violations of the ethics rules of the House of Representatives," she said.

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