Gingrich: Thompson presidential bid could keep him out of race

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Friday that a White House bid by fellow Southerner Fred Thompson would make him less likely to join the race.

"If Fred Thompson runs and he does well, then I think that makes it easier for me to not run," Gingrich said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

"On the other hand, just given what you've seen with (John) McCain the last few months, how can you predict?" Gingrich, a Republican who in recent months has been actively promoting his ideas for reforming government, reiterated that he would wait until early October to make a decision.

He has at times offered conflicting hints about his plans.

In May, he said "it is a great possibility" that he would pursue the presidency. But a month later he said the probability was "4-to-1 odds" against.

"I've always said it was unlikely I would run," the former Georgia congressman said Friday.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)