Can Newt Gingrich save his campaign?
Some GOP strategists say his presidential campaign is as good as done following his criticism of Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare, but Newt Gingrich isn't giving up. The week ahead could be telling.
It’s tempting to conclude that Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid is over already. Some pundits and Republican strategists have already said as much, especially amid reports that donors are dropping him like a hot rock.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
But Mr. Gingrich and his team aren’t giving up, after a campaign rollout week that can only be described as horrific.
Four days after the fact, Republicans are still trying to figure out why the former House speaker trashed GOP budget leader Paul Ryan’s plan for a privatized Medicare in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Gingrich has since apologized repeatedly for his “mistake,” but the episode has only highlighted Gingrich’s old Achilles’ heel – a lack of discipline.
Another PR blow this week – a debt to Tiffany’s of between $250,000 and $500,000, unearthed by Politico – does not bode well for Gingrich’s ability to win grass-roots support. He has refused to comment on the story, including whether the reported debt has been paid.
The days ahead will test Gingrich’s potential to recover. On Sunday, he appears on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” On Monday, he sits down with reporters in Washington at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. Then he makes his first trip to New Hampshire, home of the first primary, as a presidential candidate. On Wednesday, he speaks at a house party in Manchester hosted by former Senate candidate Ovide LaMontagne’s Granite Oath PAC. And on Thursday, he addresses a Seacoast Republican Women’s breakfast at the Portsmouth Country Club.
“This campaign is very alive and very well with lots of grass-roots support,” Gingrich told a crowd in Waterloo, Iowa, Thursday, according to the Associated Press. “It's been a little bit of a challenging week.”
One factor working in Gingrich’s favor is that most voters are not paying close attention to the presidential race yet. But activists and high-dollar donors are, and without them, it will be hard for him to survive.