I wonder what would happen if he went to Romney tomorrow and offered to drop out in return for help with raising funds to pay off his growing campaign debt. Would Mitt take the deal? He doesn’t care if Newt’s in or out anymore so if he agreed it’d be a pure goodwill gesture in the name of uniting the party. There’s no risk in saying no since Gingrich has no leverage left over him, except maybe as a nuisance during the general election by speaking tepidly of Romney when asked. But even then, would Newt really try to punish Romney for rejecting his offer by badmouthing him to the media? He’s not going to be president so his aim now is to secure an “elder statesman” legacy for himself. That means campaigning hard for Mitt and laying into Obama at every opportunity, which will put him back in conservatives’ good graces. And if he pulls that off, his campaign debt will probably take care of itself.
No matter. It’s a moot point since he’s not dropping out. And so the debt keeps growing:
In interviews with HuffPost, many vendors listed in Gingrich’s Federal Election Commission debt disclosures said they’re still waiting to be paid, weeks or months after finishing work. Several said they’ve been given the runaround by campaign officials as they’ve tried to collect. Gingrich has vowed to slog on with his debt-ridden campaign, despite having won a mere 136 delegates, leaving some vendors to wonder when they can expect their checks.
Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told HuffPost that Newt 2012 is doing its best to pay people. “Vendors have been contacted and we are paying bills as swiftly as we are able,” Hammond said…
Scheffler said he’d been calling three different Gingrich campaign officials about the debt, but none have gotten back to him in weeks. On Tuesday morning he saw a clip of Gingrich on Fox News, insisting his campaign wasn’t going to end. “I am not conceding to Gov. Romney,” Gingrich said in the clip, taped the previous evening.
Scheffler was not impressed. “I can’t believe he’s talking like this with all the money he owes and he couldn’t care less about the small businesses he’s ripping off.”
That’s from HuffPo, which offers no hard numbers on how many vendors have yet to be paid (“many,” they say) but has multiple anecdotes about vendors getting the runaround when asking about their money. The campaign’s $4.5 million in the hole by Newt’s own admission, though (“We owe much more than we wanted to”), so obviously this isn’t a case of cherry-picking a few cases of people whose checks really did get lost in the mail. In fact, one vendor who spoke to HuffPo about not getting paid had donated $2,500 to the campaign. Gotta figure that’s the last guy Team Newt would want to stiff if they had a choice.
Via Greg Hengler, here he is on CNN today insisting that that $500 bounced check that got so much attention yesterday was a total fluke outlier type of thing that happened because of a banking screw-up, which is great but does nothing to explain all the other vendors. After you watch that, watch his new campaign commercial embedded below. So strapped for cash is his team, apparently, that they’re now cobbling together pro-Newt YouTube clips and calling them ads.
Update: One way Newt won’t be paying off his campaign debt is by getting his old job as a Fox News contributor back:
“I think Fox has been for Romney all the way through,” Gingrich said during the private meeting at Wesley College to which RealClearPolitics was granted access. “In our experience, Callista and I both believe CNN is less biased than Fox this year. We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we’re more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That’s just a fact.”…
Gingrich did not pull his punches in accusing Rupert Murdoch — the chairman and CEO of the News Corporation, Fox News’ parent company — of pushing for Romney behind the scenes.
“I assume it’s because Murdoch at some point said, ‘I want Romney,’ and so ‘fair and balanced’ became ‘Romney,’” Gingrich said. “And there’s no question that Fox had a lot to do with stopping my campaign because such a high percentage of our base watches Fox.”…
“They know I don’t care about their opinions,” Gingrich said. “I don’t go to their cocktail parties. I don’t go to their Christmas parties. The only press events I go to are interesting dinners when the wife insists on it, so we’re going to go to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner because she wants to. And we’re actually going to go to CNN’s table, not Fox.”