UPDATE---Tuesday March 27, 2012-----10:00 p.m.ET-------Politico.com is reporting exclusively that Newt Gingrich is laying off staff and cutting back his campaign appearances. A top aide said primary states will still get visits but fewer stops. Original story follows:
Today's news about Newt Gingrich's increasingly cash-strapped campaign comes on two fronts. The first is about the former Speaker of the House selling photo opportunities with him to supporters at his rallies and campaign stops for $50.00 each.
Reported by the Huffington Post via the National Journal: "Campaign staffers had been taking those photos and later posting them online, but on Monday they began asking for credit card information first."
Are Gingrich's aides embarrassed by this? Not only aren't they concerned about the situation, they are defending it in the strongest manner. An email to supporters read in part:
"Did you see reports today we are charging for photos? Some campaigns make you travel all the way to Wall Street to pay $2,500 for a photo with a candidate. We are trying out a new tactic and asking our supporters at our rallies for a nominal donation. And guess what, it is working."
The other piece of news today is about a sure sign that the campaign is close to over without a serious cash infusion. Newt Gingrich "hinted" that staff salaries are under consideration as part of cost cutting and stretching each donated dollar.
The National Journal carried the candidate's statement of today. "Look, clearly we’re gonna have to go on a fairly tight budget to get from here to Tampa, but I think we can do it and I think we will do it and it’s going to take a lot of work on our part but we have a lot of supporters who want us to do that," Gingrich told media
As for the campaign staffers paychecks? ",,,we’re working through what is it going to take” to get to the convention," Newt said and then added that one of his campaign's senior staffers, “...will have something to say about that in the next day or two.”
Calls have come from the Rick Santorum campaign as well as mainstream GOP leaders like Jeb Bush for Newt Gingrich to gracefully leave the national campaign scene, to allow Santorum to gobble up the votes that went to Gingrich in the primary states.
But that sentiment is no longer coming solely from those corners of the GOP. A CNN/ORC International poll. the results of which were released late today show that 60% of GOP voters are in favor of Gingrich giving up the good fight. 61% of the same voters want Ron Paul to exit the campaign stage at this point.
Neither candidate is willing to pledge he will do so, at least for the moment.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons