BACK TO THE BENCH

AS THE BUDGET BATTLE INTENSIFIES, GINGRICH LOWERS HIS PROFILE

NEWT GINGRICH RETURNED FROM HIS Thanksgiving break not refreshed but chastened. Over the holiday, he had worried aloud with his wife and grown children about what he had done to himself and the Republicans. His plan to balance the budget was a month behind schedule. He had thrown a childish fit about his treatment aboard Air Force One, then connected a grisly triple murder in suburban Chicago to "the welfare state." His popularity had been dropping, taking his party's down with it. On Monday he announced he would not run for President.

But Gingrich soon realized that his symbolic retreat wasn't...

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