Gingrich to replace Cheney in debate

Former Speaker of the House and potential 2012 presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich will face off against Howard Dean at the College Democrats and College Republicans’ co-sponsored debate Feb. 1, after conservative activist Liz Cheney canceled her appearance.

Cheney cited the need to work with her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, on his book titled “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” as the reason for her cancellation. The book is tentatively scheduled for release in August.

CRs Chairman Jake Wolf said Gingrich was chosen to replace Cheney because of his noted presence in U.S. politics.

“We wanted an individual who is known for being an intellectual, very articulate and someone who is prominent in politics at this time,” Wolf said.

First elected in 1978, Gingrich, a Republican, served in the House of Representatives for nearly 20 years. He eventually succeeded Dick Cheney as House minority whip in 1989 and served as speaker of the House from 1995 until his resignation in 1999. Gingrich was noted for his “Contract with America,” which outlined Republican goals for the first 100 days of the 104th Congress.

“Governor Dean and I always have great debates so I know from past experiences I’ll need to be on my toes. I’m looking forward to the exchange of ideas and meeting students,” Gingrich said Wednesday.

Neither Dean nor Cheney returned a request for comment.

Dean and Cheney originally came as a package deal for $40,000, a cost that was in part covered by the Student Association in its largest single allocation last year.

Gingrich’s appearance, however, will cost an additional $500 because of transportation costs, Wolf said. It has not yet been determined whether the additional cost will be split between the CDs and CRs, or come from another source.

CDs President Josh Altman said he is looking forward to having a new debate challenger.

“I know that Howard Dean is more than prepared to debate our perspective and to reinforce our viewpoints as Democrats,” Altman said.

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