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Thursday, December 15, 2011

GOP Insiders and Newt

Newt Gingrich's surge to the top of the Republican presidential field is attracting donations and volunteers to his minimalist campaign. But Gingrich still lacks a staple of successful bids for national office: a big-name endorsement.
No prominent Republican leaders have jumped aboard Gingrich's growing but still-small bandwagon.

[W]hen it comes to major Republican office holders, "I think people are waiting and seeing to see if (Gingrich) is going to falter like so many of these other supposed front-runners" such as businessman Herman Cain and Texas Governor Rick Perry, said Republican strategist Keith Appell.
"So people are keeping their powder dry a little bit."
In The Washington Post, Paul Kane quotes former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA):
“If this becomes a race between competing visions of America, and not about personalities, I can’t think of a better spokesman than Newt Gingrich getting up there and being able to articulate a competing vision,” said Davis, a former congressman from Virginia who was first elected in 1994 as part of the Gingrich revolution. But Davis warned that Gingrich’s past ethics issues and his extramarital affairs provide Democrats with ammunition against GOP candidates.
“If this becomes about all the other baggage and so on, he’s a loser,” said Davis, who twice chaired the National Republican Campaign Committee, the House GOP’s campaign operation. “The question is: Can you get there or can you not get past [the baggage]? I think that the jury is still out on that.”
Also at The Washington Post, Rachel Weiner has a collection of not-so-fond reflections on Newt by those who served with him. At McClatchy, William Douglas quotes former Rep. Susan Molinari and Senator Lindsay Graham:
"Even though Newt liked to talk about team-building and quality management, the theory he really subscribed to was management by chaos," Molinari wrote. "He loved chaos, and even when he didn't create it knowingly and intentionally, he managed to leave it in his wake after every meeting, after every press conference, after every phone call."
Graham, now a senator from South Carolina, likens Gingrich's tenure as speaker to a "Tale of Two Newts."
"We got things done in a bipartisan fashion that we could only dream of today: welfare reform, balanced budget agreement with President Clinton," said Graham, who personally likes Gingrich. "Then there was the Newt that got us all frustrated and upset, and that's the guy who was erratic. If you could bring out the best of Newt Gingrich and encapsulate that, you could have a transformative president."