Newt Gingrich on Friday dismissed the walkout of 16 staffers as a matter of “strategic differences” and vowed to campaign “very intensely” for his party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Speaking outside his suburban Virginia home, he told reporters that he would move forward with a nontraditional campaign.
“There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run,” he said. “We’ll find out over the next year who’s right.”
For now, however, those who have suspected that the former Georgia congressman is merely a campaign dilettante, in the race to promote Gingrich Productions and other operations, are probably feeling like they’ve been right all along. Almost from its start, Gingrich’s campaign has been riddled with missteps, from his public criticism of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare to a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany & Co. And, while other presidential hopefuls have been working to court supporters in key early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Gingrich and his wife were on a luxury cruise in the Greek Isles.
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) experienced a similar campaign staff mutiny in 2007 and went on to face then Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign, but can Gingrich keep hope for his campaign alive? Rich Galen, who was a top aide to Gingrich when he was House speaker, doubts that his candidacy will survive.
“He can pretend,” Galen told ABC News. “[But] the notion that Newt can do this, on the fly, in the middle of this thing … who would join the campaign? Again, I don't have any animus towards Newt, but as a professional in this business, who would say, ‘OK, look, maybe, this time, the third re-start will be the right way to do this, and I'll join up because maybe they really do have money hidden around in places that we don't know about.’ ”
(Photo: AP Photo/Jim Cole)