Posted at 09:22 AM ET, 12/15/2011

Gingrich having a good week, takes a break


Republican presidential hopeful and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich prepares to speak to overflow crowds at a Hilton Hotel on Nov. 25, 2011 in Naples, Florida. (Spencer Platt - Getty Images)
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich will return to Washington Friday after Thursday night’s Fox News debate in Sioux City and, three weeks before the Iowa caucuses, take a couple of days off.

Gingrich will spend Friday traveling home from Omaha (the nearest big airport to Sioux City) and spend some time in the afternoon making fundraising calls.

On Saturday, he’ll attend a book-signing with wife Callista at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate in Northern Virginia. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and predict that he wears his favorite pin of late, a replica of General Washington’s revolutionary battle flag.

Later Saturday, Gingrich will attend a concert for Callista, who plays the French horn with a Fairfax, Va., band. She also sings in the choir at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond rejected the idea that Gingrich should be out campaigning over a crucial weekend in the final stretch before voting begins in the Republican presidential nomination. Hammond said Gingrich has been going nonstop lately and will return to Iowa next week and again right after Christmas for an eight-day bus tour.

In any event, Gingrich has had a very good week. His town hall at Windham High School in southern New Hampshire Monday was billed by James Pindell of WMUR in Manchester as the biggest event by any candidate this year. Especially telling is that the town hall was hosted by the Southern New Hampshire 9-12 Project — another testament to Gingrich’s popularity within the tea party.

Speaking of the tea party, Gingrich picked up a passel of supporters in Georgia this week — more than 60 — including a number of prominent tea party backers.

Gingrich also scored endorsements from two tea party groups in South Carolina, including the large Myrtle Beach tea party organization, in Rep. Tim Scott’s congressional district.

And his good week continued with the addition of Tom Fetzer former North Carolina party chairman, to lead his campaign there, and with his endorsement by Fred “Gopher” Grandy, the former Iowa congressman and Love Boat purser whose backing of Gingrich helps push back against the narrative that Gingrich didn’t play well with his party on Capitol Hill.

In fact, Gingrich’s office for collecting endorsements is apparently firing on all cylinders. This morning, he announced another big long list, this one out of Iowa.

The one cloud over this sunny week for Gingrich was the resignation of his brand-new Iowa director, Craig Bergman, after reports that he had referred to the “cult of Mormon” in a focus group discussion about rival candidate Mitt Romney. The comment took place before Bergman came on board the Gingrich train, but was reported this week by the Iowa Republican.

By  |  09:22 AM ET, 12/15/2011

 
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