Could Newt Gingrich end up right back to the place that made him a political celebrity?
During an interview with radio host Sean Hannity Thursday, the former speaker told the host that while he isn't pining to retake the position he vacated in 1999, he would not be opposed to serving as interim speaker if he had the 218 votes necessary.
The comments came only hours after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy dropped his bid to replace Speaker John Boehner, who is set to leave the post on Oct. 30. Gingrich also made the remarks after Hannity pressed him on possibly taking the spot.
"Maybe this is a time for Newt Gingrich to come back with a flurry of ideas and a new contract that would advance a conservative agenda to help the country solve these horrible problems," Hannity told Gingrich. "Would you consider, if nominated, being the interim speaker?"
"Look, I can't quite imagine a circumstance," Gingrich said chuckling along. "Remember the McCarthy problem — it's not getting a majority of the conference, it's getting 218 votes. I mean, if you were to say to me 218...."
"Why are you laughing at my idea?" Hannity told Gingrich. "This is a serious proposal."
"I'm not laughing at it. I'm saying to you — I'm trying to be totally honest with you," Gingrich told the host. "If you were to say to me 218 have called you up and given you their pledge, obviously no citizen could ever turn down that kind of challenge. This is why George Washington came out of retirement — because there are moments you can't avoid."
"What I would say, that would be more practical is if the House Republican Conference wanted me to be in a position to sit down with them and try to help them think this through. I think this is a conference-wide problem," the former speaker said. "I don't see the personality problem. I think this is something which requires serious historic thought ... this is a serious, I think sobering period in American history.""
"Don't think of this as a personality thing," Gingrich told Hannity. "If the House conference wanted me to be helpful in their thinking through how they're going to solve what I think is much more than a personality problem, I would always be available as a citizen to be helpful."
However, Hannity continued to press Gingrich about what a potential interim speakership would look like under his guide — to which the former speaker finally told him if the votes are there, "I'll talk to you."
"You show up with 218 votes, I'll talk to you," Gingrich said. "I ain't talking to you if you don't get 218 votes."
Gingrich, who lost in his bid to become the GOP nominee for president in 2012, went on to give Hannity a rundown of what could make the next speaker's tenure a successful one. Particularly, he argued for picking public fights with the president and taking on the Senate on a multitude of issues while unifying the conference in the House.