Newt Gingrich said Wednesday night during an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity that he would feel like a "fraud" if he didn't run for president after a lifetime of preaching the importance of citizenship.
The former speaker of the House, speaking hours after making his official announcement on Twitter, said the country needs a conservative leader to defeat President Obama - which Gingrich said will not be an easy task -- and replace his liberal polices with pro-growth, pro-domestic energy ones that will usher in a decades-long economic boom.
"I think that we're going to have a very clear, very very vivid choice, and my job is to try to offer a genuine sense that with the right solutions, the right approaches, this country can take off again," said Gingrich.
Part of that choice would be detailed in a new Contract for America, the ex-congressman said, a pledge that would echo the one he helped inspire during the 1994 mid-term election that gave Republicans control of the House for the first time in 40 years. Gingrich said he would offer the new contract around Labor Day of next year. He indicated that it would include a sweeping agenda of executive orders that he would issue on his first day i office to gut Obama's policies.
The Fox interview, which lasted 30 minutes, was one step in what has become a week-long rollout of Gingrich's presidential campaign. He will speak publicly as a presidential for the first time Friday at the Georgia GOP convention. On Sunday, he'll appear on NBC's Meet the Press.
The former lawmaker, who left office in 1999, said he expects what is considered one of his candidacy's greatest weakness - his two previous marriages - will be a major issue through the campaign because the media won't let him forget it.
"If you are a conservative, you have to start with the assumption you're not going to get a break from elite media," he said.
He said the president has several factors in his favor heading into his reelection campaign - money, left-wing billionaires and Hollywood - but would lose in a "fair" fight.
"They're going to try to raise a billion dollars - for a very practical reason," said Gingrich. "He can't afford to run in a fair election. If he were on an equal playing field, he'd lose."
His most stinging criticism came not for the president but for Attorney General Eric Holder, a conservative punching bag whom Gingrich said has been "consistently wrong" since taking the nation's top law enforcement job. The former speaker called on the U.S. House to "investigate what his beliefs are."