COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Take a flight with Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. You might find the race for the Republican nomination really is up in the air.
Gingrich’s bright, white hair and recognizable face stands out among the crowd in the terminal. Most travelers recognize him in an instant and quite a few approach him for pictures. Gingrich doesn’t seem to turn anyone away, even when it is his turn to board. He ends up boarding with zone 2 instead of first class because of the pictures.
Once Gingrich is on board, the terminal bridge operator leaves her post and follows Gingrich onto the plane to meet him.
“That’s Newt Gingrich,” several passengers whisper as Gingrich takes a seat and types on his BlackBerry.
“It’s nice to see him among the people,” one California-based passenger remarks.
“Yeah, he’s a rag-tag kind of guy, pretty real,” the passenger next to him replies.
On a flight from Greenville, S.C., to Omaha, Neb., Gingrich stops at the Atlanta airport in his home state of Georgia for a layover. Passengers wait for their plane-side checked luggage as Gingrich passes by.
“You know, I’d be for him,” one man says to the people waiting in line for their bags, “but I’m just concerned about the morality.”
Passenger Jack Donovon, on Gingrich’s flight from Atlanta to Omaha, tells ABC News that he supports Gingrich for the Republican nomination.
“He’s been my pick from the beginning,” Donovon says. “I have always supported him since he was speaker of the House and I am voting for him because he is a very intelligent individual. I like his policies on a number of things.”
Mike Schroeder, a Republican voter in Georgia, sits beside Gingrich in first class on the two-hour flight from Atlanta to Omaha and tells ABC News he is still undecided on which candidate he will vote for in the primary.
“Lately, I’ve been thinking about Newt. It’s between him and Romney,” Schroeder says.
He and Gingrich discussed Gingrich’s position on securing the border on the plane and he also likes Gingrich’s stance on the XL Keystone pipeline, but it isn’t enough to make him a supporter yet.
They don’t really talk politics or the campaign, Schroeder says, but most of the conversation is about family and Gingrich’s grandchildren and his wife.
“He worked on a draft of his book and slept a little bit. I didn’t bug him,” Schroeder says.
Gingrich speaks at an event tonight in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and will campaign in Des Moines Thursday.