In New Contract, Newt Goes Green

Former House Speaker and possible Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich will be in Washington this week to debate Sen. John Kerry on global climate change and the environment. But don't expect Newt to be in denial mode. A source close to Gingrich says the debate will give him a chance to unveil the market- and technology-based environmental solutions that form the basis of his forthcoming book A Contract With the Earth.

Due out in November-around the time Gingrich will make up his mind about entering the presidential race-the book is cowritten with Terry Maple, former director of Zoo Atlanta. "Terry and I wrote A Contract With the Earth to push conservatives back to their environmental roots vis-a-vis Teddy Roosevelt," Gingrich tells us.

Like his 1994 Contract With America, Gingrich's book will highlight a 10-point plan that the publisher, Johns Hopkins University Press, says "promotes ingenuity over rhetoric" and calls for a "bipartisan environmentalism." It's already received endorsements from Nature Conservancy President Steve McCormick and Wildlife Society Executive Director Michael Hutchins.

A source at the publishing house says Newt fans shouldn't be surprised to learn he's a tree-hugger: "For quite a while, Gingrich has been concerned that the U.S. has not been a leader in environmental issues."

By Paul Bedard