Gingrich charging supporters $50 for a photo op

Desperation in the Gingrich camp? It's hard to spin this any other way than the candidate is nearly broke and needs to raise money any way he can.

National Journal:

"Some campaigns make you travel all the way to Wall Street to pay $2,500 for a photo with a candidate," a Gingrich spokesman said in an e-mail. "We are trying out a new tactic and asking our supporters at our rallies for a nominal donation. And guess what, it is working."

It was the first time that the former House speaker has charged those attending one of his public speaking events to pose for a photograph with him. Lately, a member of his campaign staff has been snapping photos of any interested attendee and later posting them online at the campaign's website,

On Monday night, those paying for a photograph were also told they could find their photos on Gingrich's website, after they had filled out a form providing their credit card information.

The campaign limped out of the month of February posting more debt than cash on hand. And poor showings in the recent primaries of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama -- all Southern states Gingrich had once expressed optimism he could win -- are likely not going to help any fundraising pushes.

Gingrich held only one public event on Monday, here in Delaware, which votes on April 24. He was scheduled to travel to North Carolina on Wednesday, but that trip was cancelled on Monday in favor of campaigning in the D.C. area. The former speaker will spend his next two days there and in Maryland before heading to Wisconsin at the end of the week.

How bad is the campaign going for Gingrich? In addition to being deep in debt, Newt no longer has any embedded print reporters covering him.

The last two print reporters covering Gingrich full-time on the trail -- from POLITICO and the Atlanta Journal Constitution -- pulled out on Friday. The Associated Press pulled its embed after Tuesday's Illinois primary.

These and other print outlets will continue to cover Gingrich on occasion, but the sustained traveling press has been reduced to the television networks, which will remain.

On the bright side, he's still faring better than Ron Paul.

Losing print embeds is not the end of the world, but it is symbolic of the fact that people, the pundits, and now the working press have begun to ignore Gingrich. This makes his Quixotic campaign for the Republican nomination even more an exercise in vanity rather than principle.