In retrospect, the crash was pretty much what many expected would happen if Newt Gingrich ever decided to run for president.
But the entire 29-day saga — from the moment he announced his candidacy until Thursday’s mass resignation of virtually his entire campaign hierarchy — played out more quickly and more spectacularly than his allies had feared.
As the political world is writing him off, the former House speaker continues to insist that he will carry on, that he will even reinvent the whole art and science of campaigning for national office.
“There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run,” Gingrich told reporters camped out Friday at his suburban Virginia house. “We’ll find out over the next year who’s right.”
Added Joseph DeSantis, one of his newly installed campaign spokesmen: “Going forward, we’re going to build a strategy around Newt, rather than fit Newt into a strategy.”
Gingrich is scheduled to try to jump-start his campaign with a speech Sunday evening before the Republican Jewish Coalition in Los Angeles. The next day, he will participate in a candidate debate in New Hampshire.
Many of his top advisers had never worked with Gingrich before. They learned quickly, the hard way, something well-known to those who knew him back in his days on Capitol Hill: He is a fountain of big ideas but sometimes has trouble sorting the good ones from the bad ones and often falls short on the follow-through.
One longtime friend and ally, speaking candidly in return for anonymity, said: “Newt has not grasped that a presidential campaign is different from running around the country giving
The problem for his team wasn’t that it didn’t have a game plan. They had one they thought suited Gingrich’s gift of inspiring and mobilizing conservative voters.
Early in the year, sources who were involved in the operation said, Gingrich and his team had agreed to build a robust ground game in the early states and augment it with “new and different” approaches through social media and the Internet.
It would be expensive, but one thing they assumed they wouldn’t have to worry about was money. Gingrich had demonstrated he could raise money for the web of enterprises he has built since leaving Congress more than a dozen years ago.
That turned out to be one of their biggest miscalculations. The campaign had to be financed under rules that did not apply to his other organizations, and Gingrich had no finance team in place. Nor does he like to work the phones for money himself.