'We didn't sign up to be hucksters'
That's a quuote from one of Gingrich's fed up staffers who quit on Thursday.
ABC News has learned that one of the major issues between former Speaker Newt Gingrich and his (now former) senior campaign staff revolves around the myriad projects he and his wife Callista work on, which staffers describe as a constant distraction from the campaign.
Senior staffers demanded that Gingrich focus on pressing the flesh and fundraising and stop touring the country promoting film projects with his wife. At one point Gingrich was so focused on film premiers and book signings, one senior staffer emailed the team: "We didn't sign up to be hucksters for products for sale"
But sources say Callista controls the schedule. They say she refused to allow the candidate to attend a Memorial Day Weekend parade in key early primary state South Carolina unless a film screening was set up in the state.
South Carolina consultant Katon Dawson was pushing hard for the candidate to attend the parade, but the film screening couldn't be set up.
So the couple stayed in Washington DC and attended the opera at the Kennedy Center on May 27. Some senior staffers laughed: the opera was Don Pasquale -- a comedy about an old wealthy man's romantic life.
It's pretty clear from what is now coming out that Newt Gingrich was not serious about running for president. He wanted to conduct a vanity campaign that would raise his stock with potential bookers, publishing houses, and film producers.
He must have known that his personal baggage would have made a successful campaign impossible. Thrice divorced, resigning from his speakership over an affair, his deliberate angering of the base, his flirtation with Pelosi and Hillary - all of that and more would have doomed his general election run even if he had managed to make it through and win the Republican nomination.
No professional with integrity would sign on for such a campaign. Newt's staff did the honorable thing by making a powerful statement of disapproval and resigning en masse. And the once popular, even beloved conservative who spent the 1980's standing in the well of the House after hours and skewering the Democrats for their liberalism, now appears as a clown - open to deserved ridicule and branded a cuckold for allowing his wife to control the campaign.