The former speaker of the House said he had already proven he could “out-debate Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul put together, and you can toss in Barack Obama and Rachel Maddow as well.”
Citing historic precedent for the unusual move, Gingrich told reporters that in 1855, President Franklin Pierce had debated himself on the saltpeter-tariff issue and lost. “I am a certified historian and a man who has read many books so I know about such things,” Gingrich added. “I doubt if anyone has read as many books as I have.”
A spokesman for Texas Governor Rick Perry confirmed that Perry had read two. Aides for Romney said the former Massachusetts governor was compiling a list of his lifetime reading for later release.
Recent polls have shown Gingrich rising rapidly to the point where he has passed Romney to become frontrunner for the GOP nomination.
Responding to rivals’ assertions that his temperament is too volatile and unpresidential for the White House, Gingrich said, “The assholes can go fuck themselves.”