Newt's Campaign: The Worst in History?

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 23, 2012 | Go to article overview

Newt's Campaign: The Worst in History?


Byline: Joseph Curl, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

You know you're running a lousy presidential campaign when you get bitten by a penguin. Newt Gingrich, still in the race only because a deep-pocket casino magnate is funding his pathetic run, was campaigning last week for the zoo-animal vote in St. Louis - on a private tour, of course - and got nipped by a Magellanic penguin. Oh, if only he'd taken a jaunt through Big Cat Country or fed the crocodiles in the Herpetarium: Perhaps we'd all be out of our misery now.

The Newt's presidential campaign has got to be one of the worst ever run in American history (someone should ask the deep-thoughts historian to pontificate on that one). So let's roll it all up in a ball, shall we, and take a look.

Last May, when Newt was casually campaigning, as is his way, he found himself exhausted. He had, after all, been at it for weeks. So, he did what any pooped-out candidate would do: He split on a luxury cruise to the Greek Islands with Wife No. 3 (22 years his junior - he was already out of college when she was born).

According to an online itinerary, Politico reported, the ship departed from Piraeus, Greece, on May 30th and docked in Istanbul, Turkey, today, with stops along the way in Mylos, Patmos, Rhodes and Mykonos. The company advertises weeklong cruises starting at $2,499 per person.

When he got back in June, a group of his top aides, including his campaign manager, said Enough, and bailed. His former spokesman, Rick Tyler, who was part of that group, told ABC News that he and 'the senior leadership team of the campaign' left largely because their candidate refused to campaign aggressively.

Of course, the island-hopping jaunt came just weeks after it emerged that Newt and Callista held up to a half-million dollars in debt with Tiffany's, the elite jewelry store.

With most of his staff gone and his campaign in turmoil, what did Newt do? Spend it up. On the campaign trail? Please. No, while Newt's presidential campaign was hemorrhaging money, it was paying its staff exorbitant sums. So much so that the Federal Election Commission demanded the campaign disclose why nearly $1 million was paid to the candidate, staff and a small group of fundraising consultants for questionable reimbursements, The Washington Times reported. Newt alone hauled in $88,000 in just one month.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond had told The Times that the payments were a result of Mr. Gingrich footing bills early in the campaign and getting reimbursed because no bank would give the campaign a credit card. …

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