New presidential script, same old Newt

Newt has already earned himself one distinction. He's the first ever potential candidate for President of the United States to announce his decision on Twitter.

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Image caption Newt Gingrich: Bubbling with repressed energy and the desire to say something rude

Like a new media treasure hunt, his Tweet linked to a video on You Tube. Running at two minutes and nine seconds it is complete with a backing track of the sort of calming music you get in funeral parlours.

He begins: "I'm Newt Gingrich and I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States because I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity."

The old war horse has a reputation for unleashing intemperate tongue lashings on his opponents and frankly some think he's a bit undisciplined.

Hardcore conservatives may love it, but its not very presidential. So on You Tube we see a new Newt, grandfatherly, eyes twinkling, mouth hovering on the edge of a half smile he may have learnt from Gordon Brown, dignified and calm.

He notes he worked with the patron saint of American conservatism, Ronald Reagan and the deficit was cut when he was speaker of the House.

It's mostly platitudes but there's one burst of harsh confrontational language where the words sit uncomfortably with that music and the delivery.

'Fifth in the race'

"We Americans are going have to talk together work together find solutions together and insist on imposing those solutions on those forces that don't want to change.

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Media captionMark Mardell takes a look at Newt Gingrich's political past

"There are some people who don't mind if America becomes a wreck as long as they dominate the wreckage."

He doesn't say who these forces are, but I suspect they currently live in the White House. Betchya.

We interviewed the New Yorker's Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza for a piece on Radio Four's Today programme and he made an interesting point.

He put Newt fifth in the race behind former governors Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels and John Huntsman. Like him, they are all serious candidates with experience.

Lizza points out that unlike him they have been in power recently and have made compromises. Newt could have good fun ripping into them and appealing to the conservative base.

Candidate Gingrich's first TV interview on Fox was so chummy that Newt had to restrain the interviewer in his disdain for the president.

The hardest question was on the lines of: "The liberal media who refused to investigate Obama's background will doubtless drag up things in your past, how do you cope with that?"

But the underarm bowling did allow Newt to set out his programme as he had it prepared. While short on details his focus was on unemployment, energy, cutting the deficit and a dose of American exceptionalism.

But what struck me most was, despite his 67 years, the air of school boy in his Sunday best, bubbling with repressed energy and the desire to say something rude. When on one occasion he was pretty insulting about the president he couldn't stop himself smiling and glancing around at his naughtiness.

This is a clever man who has written his own script but even his better judgement is not going to force him to stick to it.

And and thank heavens for that.