Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas): "I'm in your camp. I would hope you would at least consider staying in Congress . . . and not totally getting out. We're going to need you and your vision. I'm just really saddened by this."
Gingrich: "I'm willing to lead, but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals. My only fear would be that if I tried to stay, it would just overshadow whoever my successor is."
Barton: "We could end up losing that seat [Gingrich's 6th Congressional District seat]."
Gingrich: "Trust me, that district will elect a Republican. I may need your help on a job resume. . . . I'll stay through the end of the year. The new team has to have the opportunity to be a new team. I think [wife] Marianne and I will probably take six months off and go collect dinosaurs or something."
Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): "I understand your interest in not being in Congress and I respect that." (Portman then asked for advice on a replacement.)
Gingrich: "You need to have a conference before you vote. You need to talk through how hard it's going to be to have a six-vote margin. You need to absolutely insist that every person there is going to . . . pledge that they support everybody, or don't let them vote. Five or 10 people could blackmail everybody else. I spent 40 years of my life getting us here. The idea that I would be the excuse to cannibalize the majority is so sickening I couldn't risk it. You have many good candidates. Have the loyalty of the entire 223 or it will not work."
Portman: "We'll need you."
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.): "This is sort of a very sad time here. I have never been in a meeting where I haven't felt inspired by what you have to say. We are a caucus that is so complicated. You did make people understand what was going on. . . . Whoever takes your place will have to have your ability to lead us out of our forest."
Gingrich: "The prospect of an Al Gore presidency and a Democratic Congress ought to scare all of us into mobilization. The level of love and affection that Marianne and I have for many of you--I am grateful to each and every one of you. I have a lot of reasons to be grateful. I'll be at the organizing conference. I love all of you."
Source: Associated Press