Newt Gingrich will run for president: Can he catch on?
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led the Republican Revolution of '94, has high negatives among general-election voters but knows how to talk and raise money. So who are his people?
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“That’s why Newt is a good candidate here,” says GOP pollster David Winston, a former senior policy aide to Gingrich when he was speaker. “He has the one attribute that people are looking for, and that is policy solutions to problems the country is facing.”Skip to next paragraph
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“His enthusiasm, his vision, his perspective [are] very different from the others,” Mr. Anuzis said Tuesday in an interview with Michael Patrick Shiels on Michigan Talk Radio. “This is a guy who probably expresses himself better than anyone else in the field.”
And he has a nationwide network of donors and followers second probably only to the president. According to a Wall Street Journal report on “Newt Inc.,” the former speaker has amassed 1.7 million voter and donor contacts and raised $32 million between 2009 and 2010. That is more than all his potential 2012 rivals combined, the paper noted.
But he still has some persuading to do, especially within the conservative tea party movement.
Shared bench with Pelosi
“Newt can offer no compelling reason to vote for him and there are a lot of compelling reasons not to,” writes Judson Phillips on his Tea Party Nation website. “Most conservatives have not forgiven him for sitting on the park bench with Nancy Pelosi, talking about global warming.”
Mr. Phillips is referring to an ad Gingrich taped in 2008 with then-House Speaker Pelosi urging US leaders to address global warming. The spot was filmed as part of the “We” campaign sponsored by former Vice President Al Gore.
Of course, all the top-tier GOP candidates, it seems, have sticky issues and statements in their past. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney instituted the precursor to Obama’s health-care reform. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty used to support “cap and trade” emission controls on greenhouse gases. Another potential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, not long ago called for a “truce” on social issues.
The real problem for tea partyers may be that Gingrich is the embodiment of the Republican establishment. But for now, Mr. Romney is the establishment candidate. Who are the Gingrich voters? If he can’t find “his” people, it’s not clear how his candidacy survives the first few nominating contests.