Thursday, June 9, 2011

VALLEY FORGE: Mass resignations in Gingrich campaign

Chris Cillizza and Karen Tumulty:

Fomer House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign imploded Thursday afternoon with virtually his entire senior staff leaving en masse, according to multiple sources familiar with the moves.

“When the campaign and the candidate disagree on the path, they’ve got to part ways,” said Rick Tyler a longtime Gingrich spoksman who was among those who left the campaign today.

Tyler as well as Rob Johnson, Gingrich’s campaign manager, Dave Carney and Katon Dawson, senior strategists to the effort and media consultant Sam Dawson have all stepped aside, according to sources familiar with the move.

You know what this means? Both Carney and Johnson were Rick Perry-guys, and now they're free to work for their old boss if he jumps in.

John DiStaso has more on Carney's exit.

David Carney told the Granite Status that “as of today,” his firm, Norway Hill Associates and “the whole political operation,” nationally as well as in Iowa has left the campaign of former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich.

Carney attributed the exodus to “a fundamental disagreement on how to run a campaign,” adding, “You can’t have a big political staff with a low-budget campaign.”

And Jonathan Martin says, yeah, there were fundamental (one of Newt's favorite words) disagreements on strategy/technology, but really, how ship-shape could things be with Newt on that ship in the Greek Isles?

The sources said Gingrich was staying in the race.

The mass resignation was, one source said, “a team decision.”

“We just had a different direction in which we wanted to take the campaign,” said a second source.

Gingrich was intent on using technology and standing out at debates to get traction while his advisers believed he needed to run a campaign that incorporated both traditional, grassroots techniques as well as new ideas

One official said the last straw came when Gingrich went forward with taking a long-planned cruise with his wife last week in the Greek isles.

These are the times that try former Speaker of the Houses with an assortment of think tanks and penchant for musings on odd things like Electromagnetic-Pulse attacks' souls.

Let's say Newt gets out of the race in the next few months.

Where does his support go? It's not immediately clear, because he was picking up less and less of it in polls, and his base wasn't easily defined. Sure, he was going for tea partiers, but his ability to resonate there was always in doubt -- what with couching with Nancy Pelosi and all.

And Herman Cain was even out-polling him in his home-state of Georgia.

Calling Paul Ryan's Medicare plan "right wing-social engineering" certainly didn't help -- lots of conservatives sort of felt like this guy.

Nor did the disastrous, numerous rollouts, his explanations for his affairs, Tiffanys debts, and Libya flip-flops.

All of that helped lead to anecdotes like this last month:

Another Republican operative said he had spoken with an old friend of Gingrich's in the South who had been planning a fundraiser for the campaign.

There were 18 co-chairs for the event until Gingrich's appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday, where he labeled Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) proposed budget "radical" and "right-wing social engineering."

"He said like 13 of them dropped off within 24 hours of 'Meet the Press,'" the GOP source told The Huffington Post.

Now, it's time to start again.

Gingrich posted a Facebook note a few minutes ago:

I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.

I'll say this -- Newt has compared himself to Bill Clinton, in the past, and even started calling himself the "Comeback Kid" a few weeks ago.

It's 3 AM. Newt Gingrich is on the phone with Hillary, waiting for Bill to get on, and guess what -- Dick Morris might be there, too. After all, he's the one who said Gingrich's comments on Paul Ryan would actually help him.

"The campaign begins anew Sunday."

UPDATE: His Iowa staff is gone, too.