He's been Speaker of the House, a professor and a best-selling author. His World War II novel, Days of Infamy, hits bookstores on April 29. Newt Gingrich will now take your questions
Is there anything you feel you could have done while you were in Congress but didn't? Abe Weiss, Monsey, N.Y.
In retrospect, I probably would have created a very intensive training program [on] how to be a majoritarian Republican solving problems. That was a huge mistake, and it led to the collapse of 2006 because you had the party over the past six years reverting to a Republican Party which is incapable of being in the majority.
Are the Republicans headed for another decades-long stretch as the minority party? J. De May, Kew Gardens, N.Y.
Until there is a resurgence of a Republicanism that meets the demand of independent voters to be a reform party, to care about the environment, to deal with a national energy strategy and to deal with education, I think that there is a real danger that the Republicans will be at a disadvantage.
How do you feel about Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's proposal to expand the powers of the Fed? Josh Lyman, Seattle
I'm very cautious because it represents the former head of a very large Wall Street firm, acting as Secretary of the Treasury, explaining how we could regulate the economy further to the advantage of Wall Street and the disadvantage of the rest of the country.
What will the next six months bring for the American dollar? Diana West, Memphis, Tenn.
My guess is, the dollar will stabilize, to the huge disadvantage of the euro. The only zone where the dollar's value matters to us is the purchase of oil. If we weren't buying foreign oil, we wouldn't care about the value of the dollar.
You have criticized the partisanship of Washington, but your time as Speaker of the House was known for extreme division. How do you explain this? Dan Kane, Durham, N.H.
I helped pass NAFTA on behalf of President Bill Clinton. And in 1996 [when] we passed welfare reform, about half the Democrats in the House voted with us. I don't think either party can force a narrowly partisan set of solutions.
When do you think elected leaders will gain the political will to tackle climate change? Kurt Wilms, San Francisco
If you really care about the environment, you want to develop green technologies that are so inexpensive that it is profitable to be environmentally sensitive. It's not a question of political will. Can you develop solutions with broad enough support so that it is relatively easy for politicians to do them?
In light of Bill Buckley's passing, who are the remaining intellectual giants in modern American conservatism? Orlando Gutierrez, Boston
There are a lot of very, very smart conservative intellectuals like Thomas Sowell, Michael Novak [and] George Weigal. There are a lot of very thoughtful advocates of what I would call a serious conservatism, by which I mean the preservation of the traditions of freedom and the understanding of the realities within which you have to make decisions.
As a military historian, do you see a clear path for a resolution to the Iraq occupation? Halston Howard Torrance, Calif.
Well, I said in December 2003, "We've gone off a cliff." I think [special envoy to Iraq L. Paul] Bremer's decisions in June of 2003 were an absolute, total strategic fiasco. When political leaders decide they can violate all the rules of war, they get beat.
Give me your breakdown of general-election matchups. Who is John McCain stronger against? Danny Collins, Chantilly, VA.
I think Senator Hillary Clinton has a lower ceiling and a higher floor. She probably can't get much above 53% or 54% [of the vote], and she probably can't drop much below 47%. Senator Barack Obama is a bigger gamble for the Democrats. He could be a unifying national leader. He could collapse as well.
Why did you decide not to run for President? Brian Lemieux, Los Angeles
The scale of solutions we need for the next 20 years is so enormous that I could not both do what I'm doing and run for President. I may someday run, but I think my primary contribution is to go to the root of problems, to try to understand the scale of change we need.