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Newt Gingrich bids farewell: After messy campaign, what next?

Don't expect Newt Gingrich to fade from view entirely after he formally suspends his campaign Wednesday. In a farewell video, he mentions plans that sound a lot like a continued campaign.

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According to RealClearPolitics, which was granted access to the meeting, Gingrich complained that the Fox News Channel and Rupert Murdoch – chairman and CEO of its parent company, News Corp. – were in the tank for Romney.

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“I think Fox has been for Romney all the way through,” Gingrich said April 11 during the private meeting at Wesley College in Dover, Del., according to RealClearPolitics. “In our experience, Callista and I both believe CNN is less biased than Fox this year. We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we’re more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That’s just a fact.”

So maybe Gingrich winds up as a commentator at CNN? And, say Republicans who know Gingrich, his plan to keep traveling and making speeches would surely include continued fundraising as well.

Despite leading in the national polls for a time, Gingrich won only two primaries – South Carolina and Georgia – and suffered some public embarrassment when his campaign team resigned en masse over his unorthodox strategy, which for a time did not involve many public appearances.

But he proved on the debate stage that he is a skilled communicator, and that will stand him in good stead going forward, even if he never runs for office again.

There’s now a whole new generation of Americans who know who Gingrich is. Given that he left the speakership in 1998 and hasn’t held elective office since, anyone much under 30 might not have been aware of him. Now, after 20 debates and some ribbing on “Saturday Night Live” for his dream of establishing moon colonies, he’s certainly boosted his public profile.  

“He’s still one of the best messengers the Republican Party has. He has a huge following around the country,” says Saul Anuzis, a Republican national committeeman from Michigan. “And even though, for multiple reasons, people may not have been ready to support him for president, he’s still very well respected and is considered a leading thinker both in the conservative movement and Republican Party.”

In some ways Gingrich’s presidential campaign enhanced his brand and in other ways damaged it, Mr. Anuzis adds, but “he’ll continue to be a player.”

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