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Newt’s run for President: A campaign on life support

July 16, 2011

Newt Gingrich waves while walking in a Fourth of July parade in Clear Lake, Iowa. Since aides and advisers resigned in early June, Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid has been on life support. And his first campaign finance disclosure provided little reason to be optimistic. Gingrich has raised $2.1 million since getting into the race earlier this year, badly trailing front-runner Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

His presidential campaign on life support, Newt Gingrich ran into the county coroner at a recent tea party event in South Carolina.

“I’m not here because you’re looking ill or anything,” Rae Wooten assured the former U.S. House speaker at Tuesday’s event in North Charleston. A chuckling Gingrich feigned relief.

For the embattled White House candidate who’s seen by some as a dead man walking in the crowded Republican field, the encounter may have hit a bit close to home.

His aides and advisers resigned en masse in early June. His first campaign finance disclosure report, filed Friday, provided little reason to be optimistic. It showed that Gingrich had raised $2.1 million since getting into the race, badly trailing the front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

He had a little more than $1 million in debt, almost half of that for private air travel.

Gingrich’s campaign remains a skeleton operation. He has not moved to replace most of the consultants and staff members who left. His operations in early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina rely on volunteers rather than paid staff.

“I don’t view him as a serious candidate and frankly I don’t know anyone who does view him as a serious candidate,” said Tom Perdue, a Republican strategist from Gingrich’s old home state of Georgia.

“It’s not uncommon for a candidate to become delusional and that’s what I think you are seeing here.”

Gingrich argues that the kind of grass-roots, Internet-driven campaign he wants to run can function with a lean staff and that he doesn’t need a stable of well-paid consultants to launch the attack ads of a more traditional effort.

“I am very different than normal politicians, and normal consultants found that very hard to deal with,” Gingrich said during an appearance in Atlanta last month. He outlined a strategy that he contended would allow him to continue to plug away at issues while the other candidates beat up each other and, inevitably, fumble.

Gingrich’s tactic: Be the last candidate standing.

Gingrich casts himself as the one in the race who has the experience of dealing with the big issues such as the economy.

Still, for all his decades in politics, Gingrich has seemed something of a long shot to win the nomination. He carries heavy personal baggage, including three marriages and an admission of adultery, into a primary where evangelical voters hold powerful sway.

His reputation as headstrong and undisciplined came into sharp focus almost immediately after he entered the race for president as he careened through a series of missteps (seeming to back an individual health care mandate that is anathema in his party) and embarrassing revelations (a huge revolving loan account at luxury jeweler Tiffany’s).

Then, just as the GOP race seemed to be heating up, he disappeared with his wife, Callista, for a planned cruise off the Greek islands, leading some to believe he wasn’t taking the race seriously.

He has pledged to stay in the race.

Gingrich was in Iowa Friday and aides say he expects to spend more time in the state in coming weeks, even as he plans to skip the Iowa straw poll later this summer that had at one point been seen as a key part of his campaign there.


Shannon McCaffrey can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/smccaffrey13

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8 Responses to Newt’s run for President: A campaign on life support

  1. griff

    July 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Damn! I’ll be sorry to see you go, Newt. Again.

    • b mcclellan

      July 18, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      Now those are some positive negative waves are they not ?

      He’s hanging in the Daily Show zone, nooses hoooo…

  2. Carl Nemo

    July 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Newt needs to take care of his burgeoning belly fat or soon he’ll be on ‘life support’…no? / : |

    Carl Nemo **==

    • b mcclellan

      July 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      Maybe he holds too many secrets to avoid dreaded belly snuff ?
      Studies say researchers are as close to pig belly technology as they’ve ever been and are hoping Newt will finally stand still for a sec.

      Meanwhile, his plane ride campaign is literally going down in flames while we helplessly, and pointlessly,
      go along for the ride.

      Where is that confounded bridge ?

    • griff

      July 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      Don’t you fret none, Carl, We have Obamacare now.

      • b mcclellan

        July 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm

        More aptly named,
        Hands across the water
        Or else
        for your own good
        you entwine yourself
        OR Else.

        I wish I could remember, a gal from Kalamazoo..

  3. woody188

    July 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Newt’s campaign was DOA when it was announced. Like Junior said, “Fool me once…”
    Yes, clearly we can’t get fooled again.

    • b mcclellan

      July 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      Fool me once.. Now I wash my brain again, thanks Woodrow..

      It’s taken a long time, increments seeming longer than a lifetime devolved into desperate minds and acts, or pontification, while chronicles label them liars and thieves..
      History, stark and truthful has become a speed bump for those not needing wheels.

      It’s always been there,
      in the moment of indecision, man the line, or die a coward.
      This is my house Too..