WASHINGTON - Former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich recommended French President Nicolas Sarkozy as a model for Republicans and suggests he is the American Sarkozy.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Gingrich told writer Jeffrey Goldberg that Sarkozy managed to become "the clear advocate of fundamental change" even though he had been in the Cabinet of an unpopular president who had been in office for 12 years.
Sarkozy ran against President Jacques Chirac, suggesting that the Socialist candidate, Segolene Royal, would be more of the same.
"In a country that wanted to say, 'Not them,' he managed to switch the identity of the 'them,'" Gingrich said. "He said, 'I'm different from Chirac and she's not. If you want more of the same, you should vote for her.' It was a Lincoln-quality strategic decision."
Gingrich has said that he will announce in the fall if he is a candidate for the 2008 Republican nomination for president.
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