Sitting in row one, calmly watching the scene, was the youthful Vince Haley, Gingrich’s longtime strategist, co-author, and confidant. Haley, 45, was tapped to be Gingrich’s campaign manager earlier this week following the departure of top aide Michael Krull. Off to the side, leaning against the wall, was Joe DeSantis, Gingrich’s media adviser.
According to Haley and DeSantis, the Georgetown event was an example of how things will proceed in the near future. With little money, a shrunken staff, and dwindling poll numbers, Gingrich will spread his message on college campuses, on cable news, and on the phone. He’ll reach out to delegates and give policy speeches. His campaign, in every sense, will be rescaled.
Haley understands why many politicos interpret Gingrich’s maneuvers as a retreat. But it’s not, he insists: It’s an adjustment as Gingrich plots a path to the GOP convention in Tampa, where the former Georgia congressman still very much wants to play a role. Haley’s job, as he sees it, is to keep the campaign in survival mode until then — out of debt, in the news, and prepared for a floor debate.