Newt: That Pelosi ad was a bad idea, huh?

Give Newt Gingrich a few points of credit.  First, he agreed to appear on Fox’s Center Seat, something not every Republican candidate will do (ahem, Mr. Inevitable). Second, Gingrich has learned that his tete a tete with Nancy Pelosi remains the single biggest obstacle to conservative support in this race — and third, he has a better and more honest approach to it than he did three months ago:

In 2008 former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appeared in a TV ad created by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to urge action on anthropogenic climate change. Many conservatives were disappointed.

However, on Tuesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Gingrich — now a candidate for the Republican nomination for president — admitted it was a mistake for him to appear in the ad during the show’s “Center Seat” segment.

“First of all, that is probably the dumbest single thing I’ve done in years,” Gingrich said. “It is inexplicable that somebody used to say, ‘You know, there aren’t enough hay wagons to stand on to get people to understand that.’ You just need to relax and go, that was dumb.”

Panelist Charles Krauthammer asked Gingrich if he was being held hostage when the ad was filmed. Gingrich responded that he just made a mistake.

“No, that was dumb,” Gingrich said. “I was trying to do something I failed to do. I do think it’s important for conservative to be in the middle of the debate over the environment.”

Go back to the end of July, when Gingrich tried to blame this on conservatives “misconstru[ing]” his ad, to see how how much Newt has changed his approach on this issue. He now takes full responsibility for a dumb decision, perhaps taking a page from Tim Pawlenty in self-deprecation. Gingrich follows this with a good defense of his record in blocking action on the AGW agenda, both personally and through his American Solutions grassroots organization. That was also the organization that provided the “Drill Here Drill Now” action group in 2008 and beyond.

Could this mea culpa be good enough for conservatives to give Gingrich another look? At least it’s a step in the right direction.