Newt's senior staff bail out
The most important members of Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign have resigned today. Via Politico, the departed include:
campaign manager Rob Johnson, strategists Sam Dawson and Dave Carney, spokesman Rick Tyler, and consultants Katon Dawson in South Carolina and Craig Schoenfeld in Iowa have all quit to protest what one called a "different vision" for the campaign.
Newt vows to restart his campaign this Sunday in Los Angeles, where he is scheduled to address the Republican Jewish Coalition. Is he putting on a brave face, denying the inevitable?
Following his "right wing social engineering" faux pas, I suspect that fundraising has been anemic. Mr. Johnson managed Texas Governor Rick Perry's campaign, so there is a possibility the with rumors mounting that Gov. Perry will enter the presidential sweepstakes, Johnsons and a few others may form the core of his campaign staff.
Gingrich's former national campaign co-chair, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has already been snatched up by the Pawlenty campaign.
When former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue went to bed Wednesday night, he was still in charge of Gingrich's campaign. By Thursday, he had been hired to join Pawlenty's "national efforts."
"Tim Pawlenty is a great man, he was a phenomenal governor, and he is the person I now believe stands the greatest chance of defeating President Obama," Perdue said in a Pawlenty campaign press release. "He is the only candidate who has laid out a real plan to grow the American economy, and his track record in Minnesota is proof he's the right man for the job."
Fred Barnes reports that the problem was Newt's jewelry-loving wife Calista:
The problem was the wife. Aides to Newt Gingrich have resigned from his presidential campaign in protest of what they felt was a takeover by Callista Gingrich, the candidate's wife since 2000.
The euphemism offered by departing staffers was they disagreed with Gingrich's "strategy" for the campaign. Indeed, they did disagree. But it was a strategy - a part-time campaign, in effect - that Gingrich's wife favored.
Nate Silver of the New York Times notes that among the mistakes Newt made was going off on a lavish Mediterranean cruise in the aftermath of the Meet the Press television apperaance debacle:
But in general, we're not likely to see the sorts of rookie mistakes that Mr. Gingrich has consistently made. And we're certainly not likely to see another candidate return from a Mediterranean cruise to learn that his entire staff has deserted him.
I think Newt is done, and he either doesn't know it yet, or is reluctant to admit it so so immediately after his desertion by the core of his campaign.