He’ll reach out to delegates and give policy speeches. His campaign, in every sense, will be rescaled.And:
Haley understands why many politicos interpret Gingrich’s maneuvers as a retreat. But it’s not, he insists: It’s an adjustment as Gingrich plots a path to the GOP convention in Tampa, where the former Georgia congressman still very much wants to play a role. Haley’s job, as he sees it, is to keep the campaign in survival mode until then — out of debt, in the news, and prepared for a floor debate.
“We clearly have an opportunity to win,” Haley says. “Now, it’s clear from the delegate math that we have an almost impossible hurdle. But we also believe that Romney will have a very difficult time reaching the necessary 1,144 delegates he needs to be the nominee. If the Republican National Committee follows its rules regarding Florida and Arizona, Romney will probably not be able to get there by June.”
As Romney and Santorum sling arrows at each other, “Newt will continue to make his case to the public,” Haley says. In the coming days, he will unveil more “policy solutions,” hoping to catch fire on a variety of issues, much in the way his “Newt = $2.50 gas” has generated enthusiasm from conservatives and scorn from the White House. Haley predicts that delegates will be paying close attention even if the Beltway press largely ignores Gingrich’s agenda.
It won’t be easy, Haley acknowledges, but he refuses to accept the conventional wisdom that Gingrich is finished. “In an environment where Newt is seen as the leading voice of the conservative movement, as the only candidate who wants to offer a true alternative to the president, he could rise,” Haley says.
“Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve reassessed what has worked and what hasn’t,” DeSantis tells me as he watches Gingrich regale the college crowd. “We’re getting back to ‘core Gingrich,’ which is futurism in a proper context. Before, he’d bring up space, but it lacked a vision statement about 21st-century conservatism being based on technology and innovation. That’s one of the things that hurt us.”The closing:
Moving forward, “his strength is in the issues,” says Peter Ferrara, a former Reagan aide and a senior Gingrich policy adviser. “As people look around and realize that they don’t want to end up with Romney, he will begin to gain some notice. He’s the one who has been a conservative leader for over three decades. That will carry weight.”
“The greatest frustration I’ve had since leaving the speakership is the denseness of Washington in accepting new ideas,” Gingrich told the Georgetown crowd. “We are surrounded by a news media that is cynical, and by consultants who are cynical, and by lobbyists who are cynical.” They think big ideas are “silly,” he complained.
“I haven’t done a very good job as a candidate because it is so difficult to communicate big solutions in this country,” he said wistfully near the end of his talk. “The entrenched structure of the system is so hostile to it.” The students nodded; some clapped. Gingrich didn’t pause. He didn’t smile. He wasn’t looking for a cheer. For what it’s worth, he was trying to make a point.