Friday, March 30, 2012

"Newt in Autumn"

I recommend reading the whole article from Robert Costa, but here are some of the key excerpts:
He’ll reach out to delegates and give policy speeches. His campaign, in every sense, will be rescaled.

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.”

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 closing:
“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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway"

The quote is from John Wayne. When Newt toured the John Wayne Museum back in July -- shortly after Michelle Bachmann had some, uh, problems identifying where Wayne was born -- Newt 2012's new campaign manager Michael Krull saw the quote on a bumper sticker and bought it.

Later that night, as we were sitting in the hotel bar, Newt joked that it was a fitting quote given that just a month earlier -- after much of the campaign staff quit and journalists started writing the campaign's obituary -- Krull was asked to help steady the ship. Many reporters said the campaign would be ending any day, and none had the foresight to see the campaign rebounding.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Krull, who previously served as national director of American Solutions and who has been a friend of Callista Gingrich's for years, would be stepping down as the campaign manager. The campaign has moved into a new phase as it prepares for a debate at the GOP convention on who is the best candidate to take on President Obama.

Vince Haley, who has been the campaign's deputy campaign manager and policy director -- in addition to being key to the South Carolina Primary victory -- will replace Krull.

"Haley’s familiarity with Gingrich’s policy positions and his ability to highlight their significance were cited as reasons behind his new leadership role in the campaign," writes Joy Lin on

National Review's Robert Costa sent out a few tweets about the news:

"Smart of Newt to tap Vince Haley as he transitions to a small-ball strategy pre-Tampa. No one knows him better, played a big role in SC win" (link)

"The youthful DeSantis-RC-Haley crew stuck with Newt in the summer, they're sticking with him now. Newt loyalists. Serious about Tampa play." (link)

"Remember this? It was 9 months ago. I'm not saying Newt will win, but I'm continually fascinated by his survival." (link)

That piece he linked to in the last tweet -- which can be read here -- was an interview Costa did with Joe DeSantis, the campaign's communications director, shortly after the staff shakeup in June. In it, DeSantis laid out the vision that would end up getting Newt to the top of the polls.

No one thought it was possible in June for the campaign to survive until December, let alone walk into the Polk County GOP Dinner in Iowa on December 1 -- at which Newt gave the keynote address -- as the frontrunner for the nomination. But it did.

So forgive me if I don't rightly care what the mainstream media is now saying.

Is Newt 100% assured of being the nominee? Of course not. But neither is Romney, and Santorum is definitely not near a lock.

So as long as Newt is still standing, I'm with him.
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