The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Predictable: Gingrich Admits He Owes More Than $4 Million Campaign Debt

Posted on | April 8, 2012 | 22 Comments

“In January, Gingrich spent everything he raised, and more, and finished the month with debts nearly equal to his cash-on-hand figure. Newt’s campaign was essentially broke after the Florida primary Jan. 31.”
Robert Stacy McCain, Feb. 21

Question 1: How much did Newt raise in February? Question 2: What was his campaign’s cash-on-hand and total debt as of March 1?”
Robert Stacy McCain, March 13

If you haven’t been reading this blog regularly, you may have been shocked by Newt’s confession today on Fox News Sunday:

“Unfortunately, our guys tried to match Romney,” Gingrich said of the Florida match-up. “It turned out, we didn’t have anything like his capacity to raise money.”
Gingrich said he has a little less than $4.5 million in campaign debt, and he’s operating on a shoestring budget.

I was there when it happened, although nobody realized it at the time, and it took another seven weeks to learn the truth.

On Feb. 21, the day after his January FEC report became available, I said Gingrich’s spending was “unsustainable,” and when his February report became public March 20, I said he was bankrupt.

There are ways of billing expenses so that a campaign can push forward its obligation. The invoices delivered on March 1 won’t be made public until the March FEC report goes online April 20. Yet was obvious from the February report that Newt’s campaign had spent the entire month trying to maintain an expensive illusion of financial viability, an illusion that did not dissolve until three weeks into March. Apparently, many people still don’t comprehend what a rotten scam it was.

A veteran political observer to whom I spoke by today said, of course, it has become “standard operating procedure” for campaigns to conceal the reality of their finances by agreeing with consultants and vendors to delay invoicing. “Hell, that’s what the RNC was doing under Michael Steele,” said the veteran political observer.

On Feb. 29, Santorum’s campaign announced it had raised $9 million in February. A week later, Romney’s campaign said it had raised $11.5 in February. Newt’s campaign kept silent about its February fundraising, and I knew they were hiding bad news. After I saw the March 20 FEC report, I paid attention to three little items:

  1. Days before the March 24 Louisiana primary, Gingrich’s campaign entourage was rolling across the state in a 10-car motorcade;
  2. Newt didn’t announce staff layoffs until March 27; and
  3. The day after the layoffs, we learned Gingrich had met secretly with Romney in New Orleans before the polls opened in Louisiana.

For most of March — from the week before ”Super Tuesday” all the way to his closed-door meeting with Mitt in New Orleans and beyond — Gingrich’s campaign was a money-gobbling mirage, already “under water” on its debts, like a homeowner living large on money obtained through a re-finance deal on a house appraised in excess of its actual value.

Gingrich, however, is still in denial about what he did, as witness the quotes buried in a story by Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post:

“It never occurred to me — and this is one of the lessons I’m contemplating for some future memoir — it never occurred to me the scale of the Romney fundraising capability,” Gingrich said. “I was fully prepared to be outspent 2-to-1, even 3-to-1. But when you’re up to 5- or 6-to-1, you’re being drowned. You’re not going to be able to match it.” . . .

(Whoa. The “scale of the Romney fundraising capability” “never occurred” to Newt until his own campaign was blowing through $980,000 a day in late January in an ill-advised effort to win Florida, despite all the evidence that the effort was already doomed?)

He will find money to pay off the seven-figure debt “the same way I did in 1978 [when he was first elected to Congress after two losing campaigns], the same way I did in 1999 [after resigning the speakership]. You work and pay it off,” Gingrich said. “Whatever shape we’re in when this is over, you look at it, you take a big swallow and go to work.”

Yeah, he’ll “go to work,” all right: As Mitt’s rent-boy.

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Comments

  • daialanye

    The only good I see coming out of this is that a Romney buyout will look exceedingly crass.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/V54MMT2YDO46ECXGFICCMUCGBU Ford Prefect

    So how many conservative votes has he siphoned off of Santorum since Florida?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    There’s a big difference between what the RNC did under Steele and what the Gingrich campaign did, if they did indeed get vendors to push invoices ahead.  The RNC was always going to be there to collect from, if not next month, next year.  But the campaign ends at a date certain.  Vendors agreeing to give Gingrich credit they knew he couldn’t pay off could be in violation of federal law if they intended it as a way of getting around limits and disclosure requirements, OR if they didn’t extend the same terms to other campaigns.

    The idea that all or most of Gingrich’s vote would have gone to Santorum is simply not borne out by the facts.  In the states where exit polls asked the question, Romney got an even share as the Gingrich voters’ second choice with Santorum.  In Louisiana, Santorum did get over 60% of those, but the difference, even if Newt dropped out, would have only been a handful of delegates.

    Besides, most Republican voters aren’t dumb.  Most of Gingrich’s support in primaries after Nevada came from people very well aware he had no chance.  If they wanted to support Santorum over Romney, they could have.

    I don’t know why Santorum supporters are so desperate to imagine scenarios under which he shoulda-woulda-coulda been a winner.  His defects were too apparent all along.  He failed the competence test by not qualifying full delegate slates in FIVE primaries (so far), events Alan Keyes qualified for without incident with LESS money, press, and support.  And every time he got some momentum going, he stuck his foot in his mouth and blew it. 

    He was never going to be the nominee.

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  • robertstacymccain

    If there had been closer journalistic scrutiny of Newt’s 2/20 FEC report vs. Santorum’s 2/20 FEC report, Gingrich would have been facing tough questions about his campaign’s financial viability from that day forward. And there would have been a lot of discussion about the fact that, despite all pre-conceptions, Santorum was obviously much better prepared to take on Romney.

    Remember that Feb. 22 debate in Arizona? Six days before the Michigan primary? Do you remember any questions about Newt’s financial viability? Do you remember any questions about Newt’s organizational failures that resulted in embarrassing 4th-place finishes in Minnesota and Maine?

    See? Everybody was looking at the wrong metrics. Newt could explain some of his failures as a result of Mitt’s money advantage, but he couldn’t explain why he had finished FOURTH in two states where Santorum’s low-budget campaign won with barebones volunteer operations. But nobody ever asked those questions, either in debates or in TV interviews.

  • Adobe_Walls

    What’s shocking to me is why this is supposed to be a big deal. How far in debt was Hillary after the primary?

  • M. Thompson

    Na Na Na naaa, Hey Hey, Goodbye.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

     The check won’t be cut until after the inauguration, so Newt has an incentive to work extra hard.

    Anybody who donates or supports Newt from this point on is simply a mark.  He’s going to shop you, and like Clinton right down to the shit-eating grin, he doesn’t care if you know it or not.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

     We’ll never know exactly, because as has been rightly pointed out, estimating the division of the votes is guesswork.  But even half of Newt’s share would have been enough to put Rick over 50% in MO and trigger the WTO provisions, and that’s the kind of damage Mitt is counting on the Catamite Telebtubby to do from here on in.

  • http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.net/ Rose

    It’s time to stop eating our own. Dammit. 

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

     Rose, Newt was the cannibal here, not the voters, no matter who they supported…

  • elaine

    After Newt lost Tennessee on Super Tuesday, he should’ve gracefully bowed out, acknowledging his Southern strategy was impossible to achieve.  But he didn’t.

    And he still hasn’t.

    Clearly, all he’s been doing for two months is siphoning votes and money from candidates who are more viable than he ever was.

  • http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.net/ Rose

    Nonetheless, Newt brought ideas and some CLARITY to the entire campaign, especially the debate cycle. He was able to freeze the moderators in their tracks, and quickly identify exactly what was wrong with the entire approach, zero in on the REAL issues and articulate that in a way that everyone watching could grok.

    That’s no small feat, and it was invaluable. Would still be, if we weren’t engaging in the circular firing squad.

    Clearly Romney is the nominee. He was better organized, for one thing. Newt’s interview was actually pretty good, admitting he didn’t have the infrastructure, recognizing that he was outplayed, and allowing that the victor deserved respect for what he had accomplished. The others all fought the good fight, and for the first time we really had a shot at getting someone who wasn’t the ‘next in line’ candidate. We aren’t gonna get it. Maybe we would have, if we hadn’t been engaging in eating our own, if we had been supporting all of our candidates with more vigor… but  we didn’t and now – well – it’s time to learn to love Romney. The fate of the world depends on replacing the current occupant of the White House.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    I’m going to light a candle and some incense for Newt tonight, and meditate. I refuse to believe its over for Newt and he should refuse to give in to this hateful negativity.

    Carry on, Newt. Your destiny awaits. Who knows what might happen to turn things around for you? For example, Rick Santorum might say something stupid in public.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    The really sad thing here is all the gingrinches who will never admit how badly they were used.

  • JakeSnake

    I’m sure you guys are going to put as much effort exposing Santorum’s financial situation before the PA primary.

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

    I had thought that Newt’s campaign platform had been closer ideologically to Rick than to Mitt, so I guess if he backs Mitt instead of Rick in the event of Newt ending his campaign then I guess it’s just in the hopes that Mitt will open his big wallet and cover Newt’s a$$? Because if newt really cared about the things that he said he did, then when withdrawing he would support Rick Santorum and not the guy he has been running against all of this time. Right?

  • SDN

    Zilla, politics is where those with the souls of whores but not the looks end up.

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