Newt Gingrich slowly learning about fiscal responsibility

Good news has been in short supply lately for supporters of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential candidacy. But Gingrich told Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times this week that he’s turning things around:

“The fact is a month of media barrage is painful, and it slowed a lot of things down,” [Gingrich] said, before marching in a Fourth of July parade in Clear Lake, Iowa. “Our numbers will not be as good as we would like, and candidly, the consultants left us in debt. But every single week since they left we’ve been cutting down the debt, and we raise more than we spend in a week.”

Way to blame on the media for your own big mouth and lazy approach to campaigning, Newt. If you’re asking people to elect you president, you should at least be able to keep your own organization’s spending in line with its revenues.

Gingrich hasn’t given up on competing in the Iowa caucuses. His new spokesman R.C. Hammond told the Des Moines Register’s Jason Clayworth that the campaign will rely on the kindness of strangers volunteers. One of the most important free laborers will be former Representative Greg Ganske. He was part of the giant Republican “Class of 1994” in the U.S. House, taking down legendary Democrat Neal Smith in what was then Iowa’s fourth district. Ganske stepped up to be Gingrich’s finance chair in Iowa and is giving the candidate some money tips:

Ganske has already advised Gingrich to stop chartering expensive private planes and to instead fly commercial airlines, preferably in coach.  He’s also advised Gingrich to skip the Ames straw poll, a major Republican presidential shindig that will be held Aug. 13th.

“It’s basically who can buy the most buses to transport people in and then throw the biggest party,” Ganske said. “Basically it’s a fundraiser for the party.”

When a campaign is flat broke, the candidate shouldn’t need to be told to stop chartering planes. Then again, Gingrich developed an expensive airplane habit in his years running the American Solutions 527 organization.

Gingrich has no choice but to skip the Ames straw poll because he couldn’t afford to put in a bid for a spot outside the venue.

Last time Ganske made Iowa campaign news, he was hosting a fundraiser for Jim Gibbons, the Congressional candidate who lost badly to State Senator Brad Zaun in the 2010 IA-03 Republican primary, despite support from power-brokers in Iowa and Washington. Ganske’s been out of office for a long time, and rightly or wrongly, many Republicans feel his flaws as a candidate cost the GOP the 2002 U.S. Senate race against Tom Harkin. But beggars can’t be choosers. Gingrich should be thankful that anyone with any clout in Iowa offered to assist his hopeless cause.

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