The real question is whether Fred Thompson will continue to belly flop in his appearances and start to lag in polls, such as the recently released survey of New Hampshire that showed even John McCain leading the former Senator/actor. If that happens by late October, it's my guess that Gingrich's pledge collector will pull the old Jerry Lewis Telethon routine of meeting the magic number just in time.
Personally, I thought it silly for Gingrich, who eschewed any candidacy for weeks, to suddenly dangle out the possibility of running just as his 527 effort, which has caught criticism for being an indirect presidential campaign, was coming to fruition. And you can bet that if he does enter the race, it won't take John McCain five minutes to launch his attack on what he will claim to have been a backdoor entry into the presidential contest. Yet, the dangling of a true potential race for president clearly boosted national interest in the American Solutions program.
At least on the eve of the event and if only in words, Gingrich seemed all about the American Solutions movement. Still, there was an energy among his old friends. And it smelled of the coming of a campaign. Only time will tell if Newt Gingrich is the smartest of them all, or if instead has outsmarted himself.
Gingrich's answer is already clear. "I am about changing America, Towery," he said weeks ago. "It really doesn't matter how we get things changed; it's just making the change that matters."