Politics & Policy

Why Gingrich’s Team Resigned

Dave Carney, a top New Hampshire GOP operative, explained to the New Hampshire Union Leader why he had decided to resign from Newt Gingrich’s campaign. Sounds like Gingrich may have had trouble fundraising – and that could have been one of the crucial issues:

Carney attributed the exodus to “a fundamental disagreement on how to run a campaign,” adding, “You can’t run a low budget campaign with a lot of paid folks on the payroll.” …

“It’s just a fundamental disagreement about how to run a campaign,” said Carney. “His way may work but you have to have resources to campaign in early states,” Carney said. “I think he has great ideas. He’s a really nice person. He really means well. And his way may work. But it can’t work with a big political staff.”

Carney, who has worked for Rick Perry, told Politico the decision to resign from Gingrich’s campaign had nothing to do with Rick Perry.  “It has no impact nor will it [on Perry],” Carney said.

Another issue appears to have been how much time Gingrich was willing to spend campaigning on the ground in early states. Craig Schoenfeld, Gingrich’s Iowa director, said that the entire Iowa staff has resigned. From the Des Moines Register:

Over the last several days, the staffers had been speaking with Gingrich and senior aides in Washington, D.C. to explain their worries that the candidate wasn’t doing what was needed to win.

“I’ve seen the schedule for June and July going into the straw poll. It’s clear there wasn’t a path to success,” Schoenfeld said.

Gingrich hasn’t visited Iowa, home of the lead-off vote in the 2012 presidential nominating calendar, since May 21.

He has said he will return to Iowa over the Fourth of July weekend, for a patriotic event in Clear Lake.

“You need to invest more time than a parade appearance,” Schoenfeld said.

UPDATE: Huffington Post’s Jon Ward talks to former Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler. “The expectation of what a candidate is was a little different, and the expectation of the time commitments,” Tyler said. 

But he also clarified that the issue wasn’t Gingrich’s unwillingness to work hard enough.

“I don’t want this to be misinterpreted … It’s not laziness,” Tyler said. “He’s the hardest working person I know. It’s just, I’ll just leave it at our paths to victory are different.”

UPDATE II: Gingrich defended his decision to go on a cruise of the Greek isles to the New York Times, saying he penned two speeches on policy while on the cruise. “I don’t know how other people work. To have a major breakthrough in policy, you have to be able to stop and think,” Gingrich said.  More from the Times:

Several advisers pleaded with Mr. Gingrich not to go on the trip, an aide said, but Mrs. Gingrich wanted to go. “We have a spouse who controls the schedule,” said the aide, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal workings of the campaign.

An aide to Mr. Gingrich said that the resignations followed a conference call on Wednesday in which top campaign officials confronted Mr. Gingrich over his lack of focus. They demanded that he spend 90 percent of his time campaigning in three states – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina – and curtail distractions like screenings of his documentaries….

Campaign managers were also worried about expenses. In a three-day swing through Iowa last month, Mr. Gingrich spent $40,000 on a chartered Citation 10 jet, the aide said.

Despite the free spending, money was tight, because traditional donors to Mr. Gingrich had told him they would not support his run.


Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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