Former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s White House campaign lay in shambles on Thursday as more than a dozen top officials and advisers deserted him en masse.
It was reported that the strategists were convinced that Gingrich's approach to the campaign was ‘appalling’. They tried to reason with him that the strategy needed a drastic overhaul, but failed to convince him.
The first to leave were campaign manager Rob Johnson and strategist Sam Dawson. The domino gained momentum when his longtime aide Rick Tyler fled the camp. Following this campaign staff in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, and Georgia bolted. Sonny Perdue, who had an important role in the campaign as Gingrich's national co-chairman, announced that he would now support Tim Pawlenty.
The massive defection has all but killed the former speaker's White House campaign which was launched less than a month ago.
However, Gingrich has dug his toes in, saying on Facebook that he would start the campaign afresh. It remains to be seen if he can pull it off at second go and whether supporters will still be convinced about his leadership skills. Many think the fledgling campaign has imploded.
Campaign staffs were bemused with Gingrich, who along with his wife, went on a cruise holiday in Greece just when the campaign has started.
“There needs to be an investment of candidate time, to not only actually do the retail politics but to the fund-raising and everything else. . . . It was not evident that what I thought needed to be done meshed with what he thought could be done,’’ said Craig Schoenfeldm his Iowa campaign director.
Early in the campaign Gingrich was forced to apologize for a remark in a TV show Republican budget plan drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan.
There were reports earlier that his campaign had stumbled upon fund raising problems, with the Republican support base abandoning his campaign. The Paul Ryan controversy caused significant erosion in his Republican support base.
And then a Politico report that Gingrich owed Tiffany’s between $250,000 and $500,000 for jewelry worsened his prospects.
In another ominous development, he crossed the path of a gay rights activist in Minnesota, who dumped glitter on Gingrich, angered by his stance on gay marriage.