A Newt Gingrich Boomlet?
For Newt Gingrich, the tides seem to have turned. Six months ago the former house speaker was wading through a sea of criticism made turbulent by everything from his decision to take a Greek Island cruise rather than campaign, his attack of a Republican plan to balance the budget, to revelations of two six-figure credit lines with Tiffany & Co. and the eventual mass exodus of his entire senior campaign staff.
One week into his official campaign launch this summer, conservative radio talk show host Bill Bennett told Gingrich on the air, “My advice to you to salvage your candidacy is to say, ‘I blew it’…What you are doing is not working.”
But autumn has been kinder to the former House Speaker. Gingrich has jumped from the bottom of the pack to third place, sitting at 10% in the latest New York Times/CBS poll.
He was the first Republican candidate to unveil a jobs plan , ahead of the pack with his suggestion of an optional flat tax.
His debate performances have consistently garnered positive feedback from many of the GOP’s most vociferous players. Last week Sarah Palin told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, “I think we are more interested in substance and that’s why like tonight Newt Gingrich again I think did the best because he seems to be above a lot of the bickering that goes on.”
“Everybody could learn from Newt Gingrich and the way his calm, cool, collected manner,” Palin continued. “He’s kind of seen it all before in this political game, if you will. Newt Gingrich would, he would clobber Barack Obama in any debate, any forum that had to do with substance when it comes to policy and solutions for the challenges that America faces.”
“You have to have some sense of maturity and some sense of seriousness at a time when we have massive unemployment, huge deficits, serious foreign policy and national security problems,” Gingrich told CBS’ Erica Hill on Tuesday’s “ The Early Show.” ”And I felt it hurt everybody to have bickering the way that was going on in that particular debate.”
“I think people are pretty sick of the lack of civility not just in the debates but they watch Washington and watch gridlock and a president who is more comfortable on Leno than he is in trying to govern the country and I think people are looking for mature leadership that will help some of these problems,” Gingrich continued.
Gingrich’s strategy to unite the GOP field under one cause of ending “The Obama Depression” may be starting to catch on. On Tuesday, Gingrich told a group of Concord, New Hampshire, reporters that he has raised more money this month than during the previous three months combined.
“If we continue to improve at this pace, I think we’ll be able to run a full-blown campaign to be totally competitive in terms of advertising and other things, by the time we get to early January,” Gingrich said.
Challenges certainly remain for Gingrich. He has risen in the polls, but according to recent FEC filings, his campaign is almost $1.2 million dollars in debt. While Gingrich raised almost $808,000 last quarter, doubling that number will still not put him in the top tier of fundraising.
“Newt is very calmly and methodically making the case that he is ready to offer leadership now,” Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond tells ABC News. “We’ve seen a tremendous infusion of volunteers who are coming together to build a citizen-first campaign. Every day we make a little bit more progress and every day more people step forward to support Newt. Our job is to keep trucking.”