Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Newt has had a partially torn Achilles for nearly a year

Robert Costa of National Review has another terrific piece out in which he tells of the last days of Newt 2012.

He leads with the biggest revelation:
Since last summer, Gingrich’s right Achilles’ tendon has been slightly torn, but in order to keep his hectic schedule, he left it untreated. On the trail, Gingrich’s limp became more evident each passing week.

“For a guy who’s not known for being in shape, he’s physically tough,” says Joe DeSantis, one of Gingrich’s senior advisers. “He’ll walk miles. He’s been walking around with this torn tendon. It probably needs surgery, and he’s just walking around with it. Why? Because he won’t take time off. And he still carries his own bags. He won’t let other people help him.”
In my time around Newt -- when there was plenty of walking to do -- I had no idea about the injury.

I encourage you to read the whole piece, but one more excerpt:
But on DeSantis’s desk, below snapshots of his 18-month-old son, one item went untouched: an unopened bottle of Johnnie Walker Black. It was given to him by one of the campaign’s consultants months ago, when a Gingrich victory was a long shot but within the realm of possibility. Next to the whiskey is an empty plastic cup. “We were going to crack it open if we won,” he says wistfully.


It is the end of a grueling process. “What I always find remarkable is [Gingrich’s] ability to work while tired,” DeSantis says. “Newt figured out how to take five-minute naps to get him through a 16-hour day. You see him exhausted, about to shut down, and then he can flip a switch and be completely animated and alive. Then, when he leaves, he knows how to grab a nap right after an event. I’m not a doctor, but there’s got to be something in his physical constitution that allows him to operate without sleep.”

A minute before we part, DeSantis shuffles some papers. The suit jacket he wore for much of the past year hangs nearby, gathering dust. He’s in a white short-sleeved shirt, jeans, and loafers. Vince Haley and R. C. Hammond, Gingrich’s press secretary, are grabbing coffee down the street. They’re in casual garb, too, as are the interns and tech staffers, who are quiet as they wheel boxes of material, piled atop metal dollies, out of the building. In a few weeks, Gingrich’s production company will move into this space. He’ll go back to making historical documentaries, writing books, and helping Republican candidates. The vast consulting empire he once oversaw has disappeared. What’s left, other than some posters and framed pictures of Newt’s glory days, is a small group of youthful staffers — Haley, DeSantis, and Hammond — who stuck by their boss for a year, through massive highs and depressing lows. DeSantis, leaning against his wall, musing about what’s next, won’t open the bottle, but he pauses and smiles. A toast, he says, to all of it.
Going back over the last year, you can trace the campaign's highs and lows by reading some of Costa's pieces for NR.

Back last June, he interviewed DeSantis about a lot of the staff quitting.

Then, in late October, about a month before the height of Newt's surge, he wrote a piece that, while doubting Newt would jump to the top of the field, was really the first article by a serious journalist that gave the campaign a real shot at winning the nomination.

He recently wrote another article about Newt: "Newt in Autumn."

When a lot of the conservative media -- including many of Costa's colleagues at NR -- bashed Newt, Costa was always a fair voice.
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