Gingrich will not announce presidential bid Thursday

WASHINGTON Wed Mar 2, 2011 9:38am EST

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reacts during the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, February 10, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reacts during the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, February 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich is quashing speculation that he will take a first step toward a 2012 Republican presidential campaign at an event on Thursday.

Gingrich is expected to announce soon the formation of a presidential "exploratory" committee, a key step toward a White House bid, but it will not be the subject of a Thursday event in Atlanta as has been reported.

"To be clear, while Speaker Gingrich is in Georgia on Thursday, he will NOT announce the formation of an exploratory committee," said his spokesman, Rick Tyler.

Gingrich has a number of events in Atlanta related to his conservative group American Solutions and is to meet Georgia Governor Nathan Deal at the state capitol.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Beech)

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