As he struggles to keep afloat and solvent in the Republican presidential race, Newt Gingrich is seeking extra cash by charging supporters $50 for pictures with him.
Gingrich fans lining up to get a snapshot with the former House speaker at a public event in Delaware Monday night were asked to fill out a form with their credit card information, the National Journal reported.
At past events, a staff member would take pictures of people with the candidate at no charge and post them on Gingrich's website. The National Journal reported that those paying for the photos could still find them on the site, but the Delaware event photos weren't available yet on Tuesday morning.
In a statement, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond termed it just a new tactic.
Some campaigns make you travel all the way to Wall Street to pay $2,500 for a photo with a candidate, Hammond said in the statement, according to USA Today. We are trying out a new tactic and asking our supporters at our rallies for a nominal donation.
Most recent Federal Election Commission filings through February show that Gingrich is about $1.6 million in debt. With poor performances in recent primaries, including a distant third place in Louisiana and fourth in Illinois, Gingrich probably wouldn't be able to afford to run if it weren't for super PACs pumping hundreds of thousands -- and sometimes multimillions -- of dollars of contributions (mostly from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam).
Still, Gingrich has vowed to soldier on, much as he did after a mass exodus of his staff last June. He called Mitt Romney the weakest frontrunner in modern times.
I'm from Atlanta, where we were ahead by 10 and a half games last years with only 28 games to go and the Cardinals didn't quit, he said on CNN Monday, referring to last year's baseball season in which the St. Louis Cardinals unexpectedly overtook the Atlanta Braves, who had a subsantial lead in the wild card race, to make the postseason and eventually win the World Series. Everybody wanted them to, but they just kept coming. I think this is not over until it's over and obviously, if [Romney] does become the nominee, I will support him.
Gingrich's defiance comes as more and more Republicans are calling him to drop out of the race. The loudest of those calls come from rival Rick Santorum, who believes Gingrich is taking votes that could propel him ahead of Romney.