Newt Gingrich said he’d be in the presidential race until Tampa — and he’s showing every sign of keeping his word. For the most part, his presence in the race is innocent enough. Lingering supporters — who seem to have accepted that their candidate won’t win the nomination — report that they still like to listen to his speeches and, indeed, Gingrich continues to be a well-known spokesman for conservative solutions and a critic of the MSM and President Barack Obama.
But, in one respect, his presence in the race is literally costly. Gingrich’s Secret Service detail reportedly costs taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day:
Gingrich reportedly requested Secret Service protection in February and was granted a detail in early March. In April 2008, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that it was then costing the agency roughly $38,000 a day to service each candidate receiving protection, which was then just Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
A source with knowledge of the inner workings of the Gingrich campaign told The Daily Caller that Gingrich recently had three people on his personal security detail, though sometimes there are “many more.”
“Others on the campaign told me that some of the Secret Service members were even saying it was a waste of time and that he shouldn’t have it,” the source told TheDC. “Staff members thought it was ridiculous too, and just another example of Newt’s arrogance and self-importance.”
The other non-presumptive-nominee still in the race — Ron Paul — has predictably rejected Secret Service protection as a kind of “welfare.” I’d expect nothing less from the nation’s most famous libertarian.
It could be that Gingrich could just give up the SS detail rather than his entire candidacy — but, personally, I don’t want Newt Gingrich to forego needed security protection. I’d rather him ask himself: Is my candidacy — and its attendant costs — truly justified? The solution to his waste of taxpayer dollars isn’t to abandon Secret Service protection: It’s to suspend his campaign.