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Newt Gingrich Responds To Powell-Cheney Debate

In response to suggestions that some Guantanamo detainees may not be tried and sentenced to death in order to deny them the chance of becoming martyrs to their cause, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, "Someone who is desperate to be a martyr" will probably succeed.
"If we let them go, they'll go back to obtaining martyrdom by being suicide bombers," he said on CBS' Face The Nation Sunday.

He called the possibility of adding North Korea back to the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism "a good step in the right direction."

He argued that the Chinese allow for North Korea's defiance &30151; and really hold the financial key to stopping Kim Jong Il. "The morning China decides to do something about North Korea, they'll change overnight," he said.

When asked by guest host Harry Smith who is the most "Republican" — Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh or himself — Gingrich said, "All of us are."

"Colin Powell is a great American. I'm proud to be a Republican. Dick Cheney is a great American. I'm glad both of them are Republicans," Gingrich said, referencing a debate between the two leaders born on Face The Nation.

He said as a "Reagan Republican" he believes in the broadest possible base for the party and added that California recently voted to lower taxes, suggesting potentially large support there beyond the party's traditional demographics.

When asked about his presidential aspirations, Gingrich said that he will decide whether to run for president by 2011. He told Smith that there are three main factors which will contribute to that decision: the support of his family, the practically and realism of a successful campaign, and whether his party had a credible, alternative vision for the country.

"You know better than anybody it's one thing to run, it's another thing to govern," said Smith. "Would the running be worth it?"

"I wouldn't run unless I thought we could govern," he replied. "There are 514,000 elected officials in America. And I think unless you can get a wave of change … the President by himself or herself can't affect the scale of change we need to compete with China and India."

More from Face The Nation (6.07.09):

  • Concerns About Detainees Becoming Marytrs
  • Gingrich Opts To "Reframe" Racist Tweet
  • Read The Complete Transcript> (pdf)

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