Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who is in the early stages of exploring a run for president, is addressing one possible barrier to him winning: Whether he’s likeable. And while Gingrich won’t concede that he isn’t likeable, he also says he doesn’t have to be — invoking none other than Richard Nixon’s victory in 1968, and Ronald Reagan’s initial defeat in 1976.
As Kathie Obradovich at the Des Moines Register reports:
Gingrich, asked whether he’s likeable enough to be elected president, said that’s up to the American people to decide. But, he added, as a historian he disagrees that a candidate has to be likeable. “Richard Nixon didn’t get elected because he was likeable. Ronald Reagan didn’t lose to Gerry Ford in 1976 because he was unlikeable,” Gingrich said.
He said he thinks Reagan would have said he ultimately was elected not because people liked him but because he stood for a set of values and principles.