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House Speaker Newt Gingrich is asking national television networks to give him a half hour of free air time for an April 7 speech to outlinehis post-"Contract" agenda. While CNN quickly said yes today, NBC, ABC and CBS have yet to respond to Gingrich's request for a prerogative traditionally reserved for presidents. "It's certainly symptomatic of his asserting himself as a national personality above and beyond the status most speakers have had," saysTIME Washington contributor Laurence Barrett, who noted that the air time could help Gingrich improve his image. The latest TIME poll shows Gingrich's "negatives" are growing as Americans get more familiar with the Speaker.