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Posted at 08:14 PM ET, 03/01/2012

Newt Gingrich: Will #250gas drive him back to contention?

Newt Gingrich is known for grandiose ideas, but his most recent proposal is summed up in just seven characters.

Gingrich is blaming President Obama for rising gas prices and is pumping up his own plan to bring them back under $2.50 a gallon by pushing the Twitter hahtag #250gas.


A woman greets Gingrich in Covington, Ga. with a sign supporting his $2.50 Gas push. (Amy Gardner - The Washington Post via Instagram)

While his rivals and the media focused on the Michigan and Arizona primaries this week, the Gingrich campaign looked to Super Tuesday, touting the former House speaker’s energy plan in states where he stands a better chance — and promoting it on Twitter.

His campaign launched the hashtag #250gas in tweets late last week, and it quickly took off among Gingrich’s large Twitter following.

Social analytics Web site Topsy tracked between 2,900 and 3,500 #250gas tweets a day since Gingrich introduced it Feb. 24, and the tag is prominent in Gingrich’s @MentionMachine profile.


The Gingrich campaign’s new $2.50 gas logo is prominently displayed on flyers at his events. (Amy Gardner - The Washington Post via Instagram)
The campaign has taken the slogan beyond Twitter, branding campaign signs (as Instagrammed by staff reporter Amy Gardner for #2012Unfitlered) and asking campaign donors to give “Newt gallons”in in increments of $2.50. Gingrich has also used the $2.50 line in stump speeches, asking a crowd Wednesday in Covington, Ga. to use the “hash mark.”

“That has taken off, and we have lots of people now going to it,” Gingrich told his supporters. (Our Fact Checker took issue with the energy cost claims that form the basis of Gingrich’s new slogan earlier this week. But the concept has already taken root with Gingrich supporters).

The pitch has clearly struck a nerve with his followers. Gas prices have risen to an average of $3.72 per gallon and a new Washington Post-Pew Research poll shows 1/3 of Republicans and 20 percent of independents blame President Obama for that.

The hashtag is a component of a larger initiative on energy policy, said Corey Vale, the Gingrich campaign’s digital director.

“The #250gas hashtag is a regular part of conversation on the road and I really think that every American wants a way to express their frustrations at paying over $4 for gas,” Vale wrote. “Twitter is simply a reflection of the larger movement. Somehow a simple #250gas hashtag has given people another way to tell Washington that enough is enough.”

Interestingly, the Obama campaign is also taking advantage of the hashtag’s prominence. A few days after Gingrich first used the hashtag, a tweet sponsored by @BarackObama and pointing to the the president’s own domestic energy plan began appeared alongside Tweets tagged #250gas.

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By  |  08:14 PM ET, 03/01/2012

 
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