Gingrich: Strategic differences caused my team to walk out on me

posted at 3:30 pm on June 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Strategic differences?  As opposed to … what, exactly?   Newt Gingrich attempts to bounce back from the rather embarrassing predicament of having the people who worked for him revoke their endorsements with their feet:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Friday blamed a mass exodus from his campaign team on a “strategic” disagreement with staff and pledged to step up a campaign aimed at unifying Americans.

The former House of Representatives speaker’s hopes of winning the 2012 Republican presidential nomination suffered a body blow on Thursday when his campaign manager, spokesman and senior strategist abandoned the already sputtering campaign.

Leaders of his operations in the early voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Gingrich’s home state of Georgia also resigned.

Gingrich spun it as a conflict between the consultancy establishment and his non-traditional campaign preferences:

“There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run. Now we’ll find out over the next year who’s right,” Gingrich told reporters in a video recorded by ABC News.

“I’m prepared to go out and to campaign very intensely but I want a campaign on ideas and on solutions and I want to do it in a way that brings Americans together,” he added.

That might make sense, except for one small detail.  Who hired the people from the “traditional consulting community”?  Hint: it wasn’t the consultants who hired themselves.  Gingrich picked these people himself, at least at the very top.  Were consultants running the state campaigns, too?  Who hired them?  And doesn’t that go to judgment?  If Gingrich selected an entire team that didn’t fit his vision of the campaign, then the problem starts with the candidate rather than the staff.

The departing staffers have all hinted that Gingrich’s decision to go on vacation just a couple of weeks after his announcement had them questioning his commitment to spend the energy needed on actual campaigning, including all of the retail politicking that goes along with it. Gingrich should have scheduled his entry into the race after his vacation, not before — especially since there was no rush to declare at this stage.  Gingrich’s reply today suggests that he believes he can shrug off retail politicking with just a series of “ideas and solutions.”  That sounds quite a bit like the Fred Thompson campaign in 2007, which ended up running out of gas within a matter of weeks (although a late start also contributed to that failure).

Like it or not, a presidential campaign requires a 24/7 commitment to the race, and retail politicking that helps promote the ideas and solutions as well as asks voters for their support.  Taking a two-week vacation two weeks after announcing an official candidacy doesn’t speak too well for “intensity.”  We haven’t seen a successful front-porch presidential campaign in the US in decades if not over a century, and it would take a candidate with much more personal popularity to pull it off.

Update (AP): ABC caught up to him this morning.

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And people say palin is the stupid one without the needed years of experience and schooling…

the_nile on June 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Strategic differences caused my team to walk out on me

Namely when they determined that I had no strategy to begin with.

pilamaye on June 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Dede Scozzafavva….give her a job, Newt!

ted c on June 10, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Strategic differences

AKA…PW

repvoter on June 10, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Please go away and stay away Newt

paulrtaylor on June 10, 2011 at 3:38 PM

I have heard that tweets going around blame the mass resignation on Newt’s wife, ‘taking over the campaign’.

slickwillie2001 on June 10, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Gingrich sees Obama spend all that time on the links and he figures he can do that job just as well.

pedestrian on June 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

He never intended to be a serious candidate. He is just doing this to get his name back into the news. He never had the intention of putting in the effort to try to win (not that he could win even if he tried).

that anyone ever saw this as anything but a publicity stunt by Gingrich is surprising.

Monkeytoe on June 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

I wonder what wifeypoo has to say about all of this…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on June 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Hey Newt, don’t you have another Book to write?

portlandon on June 10, 2011 at 3:43 PM

And just to think this clown has sat on Fox News for the past 6 months and bad mouthed Sarah and other Conservatives. Hey Newt, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, you are finished. How’s that 4th wife working out for you…… tell her she has plenty of time for cruising now……

Karma baby, Karma!!!!! Buh Bye

highninside on June 10, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Stick a fork in him, he is done. So done he would be legal in North Carolina.

TQM38a on June 10, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Are we sure this campaign wasn’t invented by a bunch of consultants who just happened to talk Gingrich into running?

That is starting to make a lot more sense than Gingrich making the decision…

ajacksonian on June 10, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Who knew that Newt was going to try to campaign by DVDs?

On another note, at least Newt isn’t likely to Twitter pictures of his unit. Calista has it locked in a Tiffany’s jewelry box.

BuckeyeSam on June 10, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Political humor is always abundant.

Aronne on June 10, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Is alienating the entire conservative base a “new idea” Newt?

Cicero43 on June 10, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Yeah, strategic differences like man-caused global warming.

rmgraha on June 10, 2011 at 3:49 PM

So long, Newt! DLTDHYITAOTWO!

tomshup on June 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Remember folks, Newt Gingrich was a one of the”serious candidates” and couldn’t even Run a campaign, let alone a nation.

portlandon on June 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM

I’m going to watch Hannity one more time–when he next interviews Gingrich. I’d like to see how they discuss Gingrich’s Potemkin-Village campaign.

BuckeyeSam on June 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM

So little homewrecker Callista gets her comeuppance and won’t be First Lady.

Wethal on June 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM

How he can entertain the idea of a legitimate campaign now is beyond me. He has repulsed so many folks now even his endorsement would be a negative to the other candidates.

fourdeucer on June 10, 2011 at 3:51 PM

The first time I heard that Newt was a very bad manager was in 2007b when Tom Delay was interviewed on Rush. Very interesting stuff here, which makes this fiasco not all that surprising.

Buy Danish on June 10, 2011 at 3:52 PM

An excerpt:

DELAY: Well, if you’ll remember — it’s kind of interesting, and in the book I lay it all out — a group of conservative Republicans, not in leadership, were very upset about Newt Gingrich and the fact that he would change the agenda about every 15 minutes. They were getting upset with the fact that he was playing footsies with Bill Clinton too much, and they were going to take him out and take him down. At the same time the leadership was having the same problem and we were having discussions with Newt about his managerial style and how difficult it was to make things happen when he would change the agenda over night.

Buy Danish on June 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Newt’s problem is that he forgot that rule number one from the establishment Republican playbook is only to double cross conservatives AFTER you win the nomination, not before you win the nomination.

Fred 2 on June 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Remember folks, Newt Gingrich was a one of the”serious candidates” and couldn’t even Run a campaign, let alone a nation.

portlandon on June 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM

No one has taken Newt seriously for years.

pedestrian on June 10, 2011 at 3:57 PM

Newt has one last chance to redeem himself. But it will require Newt to give an absolutely exceptional performance at the Republican Presidential Debate on Monday night.

I predict that Newt will drop out of the race on Tuesday morning, but I’ll give him a chance to surprise me by knocking the ball out of the park on Monday night.

wren on June 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM

“There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run. Now we’ll find out over the next year who’s right,”

This spinmeister insults our intelligence thinking we’ll buy that line. He’s delusional.

shick on June 10, 2011 at 4:11 PM

and I want to do it in a way that brings Americans together,” he added.

Since when? Not once since 1775 as I recall. This is a pipe dream, Newt.

Limerick on June 10, 2011 at 4:12 PM

They were working too hard, with too much passion for their country. That’s why they betrayed you, Newton.

Sound familiar?

Christien on June 10, 2011 at 4:13 PM

Mercurial. In a bad way.

Akzed on June 10, 2011 at 4:15 PM

I’m going to watch Hannity one more time–when he next interviews Gingrich. I’d like to see how they discuss Gingrich’s Potemkin-Village campaign.

BuckeyeSam on June 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM

I usually dislike those interviews. You can find me yelling at the radio, “Sean, ask him about Scozzafava! Pelosi on the couch!….”

I once told Hannity’s radio screener I wanted to ask him why he gives Gingrich a pass on his issues. She said that wasn’t going to happen.

The last interview I heard on the radio I was surprised though. You could tell Sean didn’t agree with him completely this time and asked a few questions. He wanted to keep his relationship with Newt but you could tell that even he had been irked.

shick on June 10, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Oh, Newt honey, the lights are off and it’s time to lock the door and go home. Seriously. The guy in Iowa tried to tell you.

Fallon on June 10, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Always be the first rat off the sinking ship…

Khun Joe on June 10, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Sure…if strategic differences mean: “We don’t think you should be President.”

Newt, bow out while you have some dignity…oh, too late.

neoavatara on June 10, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Politico (yes, I know, consider the sourcee) said he was just out of money, and nothing was coming in.

If you can’t meet payroll, the staff moves on.

Wethal on June 10, 2011 at 4:43 PM

I personally think Hannity was star struck by Newt. I can only assume that others were too.
Good grief though, there was never such a flawed candidate, well wait, McCain.

ORconservative on June 10, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Jennifer Rubin wrote recently that Newt’s campaign reminded her of his speakership: “a lurch from one disaster to another” (and that was before this mass exodus). She’s right, he was a mess of a Speaker, is a mess of a candidate and would be a mess of a president. Let it go, Newt; let it go. Go back to the Mediterranean or take your wife to Tiffany’s or something.

SukieTawdry on June 10, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Hey, Newt~ 1996 called and they want their Contract with America back. Can you say “has been?”

College Prof on June 10, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Monkeytoe on June 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

I agree with you. I don’t think he wants to be president, or even thinks he has a realistic shot at the nomination. I think he’s just trying to make himself relevant enough that he’ll get offered a cushy (and lucrative) Fox t.v. gig — a la Huckabee.

AZCoyote on June 10, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Rudy

Fred

The Donald

Newt

who else wants to be President – sorta kinda?

Mr_Magoo on June 10, 2011 at 5:13 PM

who else wants to be President – sorta kinda?

Mr_Magoo on June 10, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Forgot Huckamucka

Mr_Magoo on June 10, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Newt Gingrich and the fact that he would change the agenda about every 15 minutes
Buy Danish on June 10, 2011 at 3:55 PM

We have some Project Managers like that at work. And they always try to convince you it was part of their plan all along.

Fail.

Mr_Magoo on June 10, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Stick a fork in him, he is done. So done he would be legal in North Carolina.

TQM38a on June 10, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Snort! They pulled that crap in NJ with egg temps. It was hilarious to see the walkback when they realised they outlawed. mayonaisse.

katy the mean old lady on June 10, 2011 at 5:21 PM

and I want to do it in a way that keeps brings Americans from leaving together,” he added.

Barnestormer on June 10, 2011 at 5:46 PM

What is it going to take for this supposedly smart guy to get the message? This guy makes the coyote in RoadRunner cartoons look cluefull.

bofh on June 10, 2011 at 5:58 PM

From Tapper’s blog:

ABC News has learned that one of the major issues between former Speaker Newt Gingrich and his (now former) senior campaign staff revolves around the myriad projects he and his wife Callista work on, which staffers describe as a constant distraction from the campaign.

Senior staffers demanded that Gingrich focus on pressing the flesh and fundraising and stop touring the country promoting film projects with his wife. At one point Gingrich was so focused on film premiers and book signings, one senior staffer emailed the team: “We didn’t sign up to be hucksters for products for sale”

Mr_Magoo on June 10, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Clearly his consultants didn’t recognize Newt’s need to prove his Presidential timbre by demonstrating his ability to drop everything at a moment’s notice and go on vacation. While he is gone he plans on practicing remotely getting an AutoPen to sign legislation into law.

Hey! It works for President 0.

in_awe on June 10, 2011 at 7:50 PM

With best wishes to Newt and his former staff.

It’s Over
Roy Orbison

Your staff doesn’t love you any more
Golden days before they end
Whisper secrets to the wind
Your staff won’t be near you any more

Tender nights before they fly
Send falling stars that seem to cry
Your staff doesn’t want you any more
It’s over

It breaks your heart in two, To know they’ve been untrue
But oh what will you do? When they says to you
There’s someone new We’re through We’re through
It’s over It’s over It’s over

All the rainbows in the sky
Start to weep, then say goodbye
You won’t be seeing rainbows any more
Setting suns before they fall, Echo to you that’s all that’s all
But you’ll see lonely sunsets after all

It’s over It’s over It’s over It’s over

Time to buy a beer cooler and a a lawn chair. Things could be worse.

Mason on June 10, 2011 at 8:03 PM

The difference between Gingrich and Weiner is a matter of style. If both were to meet Queen Elizabeth, Gingrich would be sincere but stumble and spill his drink all over the queen’s dress. Weiner, on the other hand, would lift the queen’s skirt and peek up it.

MaiDee on June 10, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Strategic differences caused my team to walk out on me

The difference is that they wanted a strategy.

DrAllecon on June 10, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Newt was done when he accused Ryan of right-wing social engineering. I guess everyone assumed (including his staff) that his decision to go on a cruise was confirmation of his exit.

Actually, he never had a chance. A modern US president has to be “likeable”, regardless of party and ideology.

virgo on June 12, 2011 at 12:57 PM