Gin­grich res­o­lute to stay in race

Stakes his chances on Su­per Tues­day pri­mary in Ge­or­gia

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY SEAN LENGELL AND

A de­fi­ant Newt Gin­grich, count­ing on a win in his long­time home state of Ge­or­gia on Tues­day to jump-start his stalled pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, said Sun­day he has no plans to drop out of the Re­pub­li­can con­test.

The for­mer House speaker, who ap­peared on four Sun­day morn­ing news pro­grams, cited Rick San­to­rum’s come-from-nowhere cam­paign wins last month as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for stay­ing in the race.

“I’m tak­ing Rick San­to­rum’s ad­vice,” Mr. Gin­grich said Sun­day on CNN’S “State of the Union.” “He stayed in, he was run­ning fourth in ev­ery sin­gle pri­mary, sud­denly he very clev­erly went to three states no­body else went to, and he be­came the me­dia dar­ling and bounced back.”

Mr. Gin­grich said he was op­ti­mistic two days be­fore Su­per Tues­day, when vot­ers will go to the polls in 10 states, in­clud­ing Ge­or­gia, where the for­mer con­gress­man has a dou­ble-digit lead over Mitt Rom­ney in the lat­est polls.

“I’m very con­fi­dent in the largest state that will vote on Tues­day, Ge­or­gia, which has more del­e­gates than any other state. We’re go­ing to win a very de­ci­sive vic­tory. We’re go­ing to do well in Ten­nessee, Ok­la­homa and Ohio, and many other states. I’m happy to con­tinue.”

Mr. Gin­grich ac­knowl­edged that Ge­or­gia is a bell­wether for his cam­paign.

“You lose all cred­i­bil­ity if the folks who know you best re­pu­di­ate you,” the for­mer House speaker said on CBS’ “Face the Na­tion.” “I think that will lead to a very spir­ited cam­paign in Ge­or­gia, which it has.”

Mr. Gin­grich said he ex­pects that the race for the GOP nom­i­na­tion “is go­ing to go on for a good while,” de­spite sev­eral re­cent pri­mary wins by front-run­ner Mr. Rom­ney, a for­mer Mas­sachusetts gov­er­nor.

“Gov. Rom­ney, who’s out­spent all the rest of us by mul­ti­ples, is the fron­trun­ner with­out ques­tion, but I don’t think he’s a very con­vinc­ing fron­trun­ner, and he’s a long way from hav­ing closed out this race,” Mr. Gin­grich said on ABC’S “This Week” on Sun­day.

Mr. Gin­grich said only he — not Mr. Rom­ney or Mr. San­to­rum — will be able to rally the Re­pub­li­can base in or­der to launch a mean­ing­ful chal­lenge to Pres­i­dent Obama.

“There is a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween San­to­rum and me. San­to­rum has been his­tor­i­cally a la­bor union se­na­tor from Penn­syl­va­nia,” Mr. Gin­grich said on ABC. “I think there [are] some pretty big pol­icy dif­fer­ences there, and when you get out of the in­dus­trial states, I think it gets harder for Rick to put to­gether a ma­jor­ity.”

But on Satur­day the co-chair­man of Mr. Gin­grich’s Ten­nessee cam­paign, state Sen. Stacey Camp­field, an­nounced he had switched to the San­to­rum camp, say­ing that Mr. San­to­rum has the best chance to at­tract con­ser­va­tive vot­ers.

Mr. Gin­grich brushed aside “State of the Union” host Candy Crow­ley’s ques­tions about the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing ra­dio per­son­al­ity Rush Lim­baugh, who apol­o­gized Satur­day for us­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage to de­scribe a law stu­dent who tes­ti­fied in a con­gres­sional hear­ing in sup­port of the Obama health care law.

“The Re­pub­li­can Party has four peo­ple run­ning for pres­i­dent, none of whom is Rush Lim­baugh,” he said.

He said Mr. Lim­baugh’s apol­ogy was ap­pro­pri­ate, but Mr. Gin­grich con­tin­ued his crit­i­cism of an apol­ogy that Mr. Obama is­sued to calm anti-amer­i­can ri­ots that erupted af­ter the in­ad­ver­tent burn­ing of Ko­ran copies by U.S. forces at an Afghanistan base.

“I don’t be­lieve the pres­i­dent saved lives by what he did,” Mr. Gin­grich said on “State of the Union.”

With a fresh in­fu­sion of cash from a sin­gle bene­fac­tor, a group run­ning ad­ver­tise­ments for pres­i­den­tial hopeful Newt Gin­grich is back, al­low­ing the can­di­date a pres­ence be­fore Su­per Tues­day even as the of­fi­cial cam­paign lacks re­sources.

But the pro-mitt Rom­ney group that it once did big-money bat­tle with, it seems, has moved on: The Rom­ney su­per PAC is fo­cused en­tirely on for­mer Sen. Rick San­to­rum of Penn­syl­va­nia, a sign that peo­ple close to the can­di­date no longer view Mr. Gin­grich as a se­ri­ous threat.

With 10 states to hold pri­maries or cau­cuses Tues­day, scarcely a day has gone by with­out $2 mil­lion or more each be­ing spent by Re­store Our Fu­ture, the su­per PAC run by for­mer aides to Mr. Rom­ney, the one­time Mas­sachusetts gov­er­nor, or by Win­ning Our Fu­ture, the one con­nected to Mr. Gin­grich, the for­mer House speaker.

The spend­ing marks a resur­gence by both groups af­ter a hia­tus by Win­ning Our Fu­ture and a pe­riod in which Re­store Our Fu­ture’s dom­i­nance was be­ing un­der­cut by a com­bi­na­tion of ri­vals in­clud­ing the Red, White and Blue Fund formed to sup­port Mr. San­to­rum.

The pres­i­den­tial su­per PACS have spent $11 mil­lion in su­per Tues­day states in re­cent days, pri­mar­ily in Ohio, at nearly $5 mil­lion, and Ge­or­gia, at $2.6 mil­lion. The Rom­ney group has eas­ily out­spent the other groups com­bined at $6.2 mil­lion, com­pared with $3.3 mil­lion by the Gin­grich group and $1.3 mil­lion from the San­to­rum PAC.

But in the crit­i­cal state of Ohio, $500,000 in anti-rom­ney ads from a la­bor union were enough to tip the ad­ver­tis­ing bal­ance against him. The vast ma­jor­ity of the Rom­ney ads have been at­tacks on Mr. San­to­rum.

Mr. San­to­rum’s group has out­spent Mr. Gin­grich in Ohio and out­spent both ri­vals in Idaho, while the Gin­grich group has spent $1.1 mil­lion in Ge­or­gia, sug­gest­ing that Gin­grich in­sid­ers are fear­ful of los­ing the state their can­di­date rep­re­sented in Congress. Mr. Gin­grich’s state was the only one in which the Rom­ney su­per PAC ads have fo­cused on Mr. Gin­grich.

Mr. Rom­ney’s group has fo­cused only on key bat­tle­ground states, while the Gin­grich group has made small buys in pe­riph­eral states like Alaska, where other su­per PACS have not both­ered to make buys — as if hop­ing for sym­bolic wins, if not del­e­gate-rich ones, to en­er­gize his can­di­dacy.

The in­de­pen­dent groups are also ven­tur­ing be­yond tele­vi­sion ads into more nu­anced forms of voter en­gage­ment, sug­gest­ing they are evolv­ing into more than post of­fice boxes col­lect­ing large checks for larger tele­vi­sion-ad buys. Re­store Our Fu­ture on Fri­day sent mail­ers to Mis­sis­sippi vot­ers as­sail­ing Mr. San­to­rum, for ex­am­ple, while call­ing vot­ers in Ok­la­homa and Ohio with a pos­i­tive mes­sage.

That kind of en­gage­ment is made more dif­fi­cult by a le­gal pro­hi­bi­tion against co­or­di­nat­ing with cam­paigns. There is no way for the cam­paign and su­per PAC to keep from du­pli­cat­ing ef­forts on re­source-in­ten­sive mi­cro­tar­get­ing.

Most re­cently, su­per PACS staffed by prox­ies to the can­di­dates have also been joined on a smaller scale by in­de­pen­dent groups. On Fri­day, the Amer­i­can Jobs PAC spent $220,000 on proGin­grich tele­vi­sion spots in Washington state, while the Life and Mar­riage PAC spent $50,000 on ra­dio ads at­tack­ing Mr. Rom­ney on so­cial is­sues in Ohio.

While the su­per PAC buys are ex­cep­tion­ally large, the sheer shock-an­dawe qual­ity seems to have sub­sided since the early pri­mary and cau­cus states such as South Carolina, where they spent $15 mil­lion. The groups spent $5 mil­lion in first-in-the-na­tion Iowa, a fig­ure likely to be ex­ceeded in Ohio, but not the other states, by Tues­day.

The Gin­grich buys are no­table since a month ago the Gin­grich su­per PAC had only $2.4 mil­lion in the bank — not enough for the ad war it has since waged — com­pared with $16 mil­lion for Mr. Rom­ney’s group, and the cam­paign it­self had vir­tu­ally no money, fac­tor­ing in its debts.

That made casino mag­nate and long­time Gin­grich sup­porter Shel­don Adel­son his only hope. The Adel­son fam­ily had given $11 mil­lion through Jan­uary, records show, and spend­ing sug­gests he made an­other do­na­tion in re­cent days.

Even as Mr. Gin­grich strug­gles to stay in the race, the Rom­ney su­per PAC is look­ing be­yond su­per Tues­day to the deep South, where his fi­nance savvy is less of an ap­peal against the so­cial is­sues fre­quently cham­pi­oned by Mr. San­to­rum.

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