Newt Gingrich has shifted his focus from winning primaries to blocking Mitt Romney’s path to the nomination after the primaries are over.
Meet Newt 4.0: the insurgency. Rather than help his party focus on winning in November, Gingrich has promised to blow up the remaining calendar as best he can.
Throughout the first several months of the campaign, Gingrich not only refused to attack his rivals, he chided the media in every debate for trying to provoke them into turning on each other. Now he’s relying on a last-ditch effort to blow up the party convention — the very moment the party should be coming together to heal its wounds — in order to hijack the nomination.
Politico broke the news Tuesday that Gingrich is scaling back, dropping staff, travel and focusing on a digital outreach and other inexpensive ways to stay in the race he’s in which he is now officially an also-ran.
His campaign says it knows it’s not going to win by collecting the most delegates, so it’s instead focusing on a last-ditch effort to position Gingrich as the man who gets the nod should the primary blow up and end in a brokered convention.
“If you look at the math, we’re not going to get to 1,144 before June 26, the last two primaries, so what we’re going to have to do is convince delegates in the 60-day period between the last primaries and the convention that Newt is the candidate to defeat Obama and to change Washington,” Joe Disantis, a Gingrich campaign spokesman, told CNN Wednesday morning.
Team Gingrich says that by picking up delegates here and there, it can deny Romney the delegates he needs to win the nomination outright. Then, in the Gingrich campaign’s mind, comes the real campaign to win over the delegates headed to the brokered convention.
This means Gingrich is doing his best to make life much harder for Romney. But Gingrich’s campaign insists the new strategy will lead him to stop attacking his rivals as he has in spurts since Iowa, when the negative ads from Romney and his supporters stripped him of his lead just before the caucuses.
The campaign told CNN that Gingrich “plans to steer his attacks away from his onetime nemesis Mitt Romney and toward President Barack Obama.”
The GOP establishment is more and more suggesting the best way for Gingrich (as well as Rick Santorum) to turn attention to Obama is to drop out and make way for the candidate everyone knows will be the nominee. But that’s the one thing Gingrich insists he won’t do, making his new promise to stop attacking his rivals all the more.
To call his primary plan a long-shot would be generous. Yahoo’s Chris Moody explained all the things that have to go right at once — and it’s a lot of things — for Gingrich’s plan to work.
And that’s if he can keep the campaign going. As the Washington Post reported Tuesday, Gingrich is low on money and doesn’t even have his billionaire benefactor to fall back on anymore.
The super PAC “supporting Gingrich that had received $16.5 million from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his family has largely run out of cash, with no indication that the Adelsons have continued to fund it,” according to the Post.