Posted on | January 30, 2012 | 24 Comments
FORT MYERS, Fla.
6:51 p.m. ET: During his speech today at Page Field, Newt Gingrich spun a conspiratorial view of the opposition to him, saying that Mitt Romney’s campaign is using “recycled” bailout money to attack him.
Saying that Goldman Sachs chose Barack Obama in 2008, Gingrich said the giant Wall Street bank — using taxpayer funds from bailouts — had “recycled” that money into support for Mitt Romney’s campaign. Gingrich said that, if elected president, he would request “a thorough audit” to find out “where the money went.”
Gingrich also referenced remarks by international financier George Soros critical of his campaign. Soros, Gingrich said, was “in Europe, and he’s explaining to Europeans the American campaign … And so Soros says, you know, we think either Obama or Romney’s fine, but Gingrich, he would change things.” Gingrich said, “They are uncomfortable with me and they should be.”
I’m sitting here comparing notes with Jeff Briscoe from Port Charlotte, whose site is Report Bucket. Neither of us seems to have the Goldman Sachs conspiracy remarks on video — I switched between photo and video mode during the speech — but during the speech, I provided an open phone link for Pete Da Tech Guy who transcribed much of it live, and he provides these direct quotes: “Goldman Sacks is very uncomfortable with me. . . . Those ads are your money recycled to attack me.”
Gingrich described his campaign as one of “grassroots populist conservatism” versus “The Establishment.” He cited the fact that Herman Cain appeared with him today here and elsehwere on the campaign trail, and also that Todd Palin has agreed to record a message of support for automated get-out-the-vote phone calls.
* * * PREVIOUSLY (2:40 p.m. ET) * * *
Sitting here at a McDonald’s on Colonial Boulevard a half-mile from Page Field, where Newt Gingrich and Michael Reagan will hold a “grassroots rally” at 3 p.m. I’m not expecting much of a crowd for a mid-afternoon event on a Monday, but maybe I’ll be surprised. There were already three TV satellite trucks at the site when I cruised by about 1:3o p.m., and there were lots of cops preparing for a heavy security presence.
Listening to Rush Limbaugh on the way up here from Naples, the commercial breaks were pretty much wall-to-wall attack ads, Mitt vs. Newt and Newt vs. Mitt. It seemed as if the anti-Newt ads were the majority. Ed Morrissey has audio of Limbaugh telling Newt to stop complaining about Mitt’s attacks.
It’s been a bad week for Newt and I frankly don’t believe the Insider Advantage poll showing Newt within five. If you look at the Real Clear Politics average, there are five other Florida polls in the past five days showing Mitt winning by anywhere from 11 to 20 points. The latest Quinnipiac poll, with Romney up by 14 points, is about average. So if Romney wins by less than 10, it would be surprising.
Somebody in the Newt camp tossed an “internal memo” over the fence to Matt Lewis. Long story short, they’re lowering expectations in Florida. And as I pointed out in my American Spectator column, second place in Florida is worthless — it’s winner-take-all. Team Gingrich just blew through about $2 million for nothing.
Well, it’s past 2:30 now, so I’d better get over to the airport. Let’s hope the Gingrich people don’t sic the cops on me.
UPDATE: It’s nearly 4 p.m. and no Newt yet. There are about 250-300 people here and four network satellite trucks. I talked to one network reporter who told me about the war between the press corps and the Gingrich campaign over charter travel:
The Gingrich campaign isn’t taking reporters on their charter flight on Monday to travel from Pensacola to Miami with stops along the way, destinations that are physically impossible to get to by car in a day.
Campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond says he’s ticked off after several media outlets opted not to get on a charter Saturday night.
“I have better things to do than complain with you guys about the cost of flights,” Hammond said when asked why the Monday charter was canceled.
The campaign is also not taking press with them to Nevada on Tuesday night after the Florida primary after initially saying they would be included.
Read the whole thing. It seems that the networks thought the charter rates they were being charged by the Gingrich campaign were too high. So there’s a little inside-baseball camapign stuff for you.