Newt Gingrich has "never been this serious," as he told an Iowa crowd, about assessing his chances for a potential Presidential bid in 2012. Assuming he does, a Des Moines Register poll gives him a third place favorability showing in a match-up against current GOP heavyweights Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. Pundits aren't discounting that Gingrich could pull an upset, but what's giving some of them pause is the suspicion that he is trying to build up hype for a new book. Nevertheless, Newt's announcement cements his place on the blogosphere's roster of potential candidates making passive swipes at a 2012 bid. Lou Dobbs welcomes him to the club. Here's what critics have to say:

  • He Sounds as Serious as He Did in 2007 figures Vanity Fair's Juli Weiner. At that time, "he gave supporters three weeks to supply him with the $30 million in campaign contributions he figured he would need to compete in the 2008 election... As we know now, Gingrich did not end up tossing his hat into the ring."
  • He Didn't Actually Announce He’d do Anything "By announcing an interest in maybe, perhaps, jumping into the race in the distant future, candidates can test what people start saying about them, and whether donors get excited at the idea. It is, in effect, a way to get more attention without explicitly asking for it," writes Daniel Stone at Newsweek. Plus, he stresses, this announcement comes at a time when Gingrich "has got a book to sell."
  • There's 'a Question of His Discipline' observes Karl Rove on Fox News (via ThinkProgress). "When he was Speaker of the House, he had the vision to — as a Republican leader, to get us into the majority and the vision to sort of give people the big picture to go after.The question was sometimes whether — how consistent he was in keeping people focused on those — on that vision."
  • Obama Looks Weak, He's Serious Time magazine's Mark Halperin stopped by MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to offer those thoughts (via Politics Daily). Especially considering Gingrich's age (67), Halperin concludes, the time is really ripe for him: "He may not do it in the end, but I'm telling you, this is not just for selling books -- he may do it."
  • A 'Divisive, Conniving Old Washington Insider' is exactly what the American public is looking for, grumbles Gawker's Jim Newell."So he's never been this serious, but he's going to wait until February to consider seriously. C'mon Newt Gingrich, some of us are trying to get seriously excited!"