Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was supposed to kick off his presidential campaign Monday with a 17-stop swing through Iowa. "Instead, he got kicked in the teeth," says Kendra Marr at Politico. Republicans — including important primary state Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) — blasted Newt for his criticism on Sunday of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) controversial plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system. Meanwhile, in Iowa, a Republican voter embarrassingly dressed down Gingrich to his face: "Get out now before you make a bigger fool of yourself." Then, Politico reported that Gingrich had at one time owed luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. up to $500,000. It makes you wonder, says Clive Crook at The Atlantic, if Newt's campaign is "over before it begins." Is it?
Gingrich should quit while he's behind: When you have Iowans yelling at you and influential right-wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Charles Krauthammer "declaring you dead," you have a big problem, says Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media. In the internet era, "unprincipled and undisciplined" politicians like Newt can no longer get away with the type of careless, self-serving bomb-throwing that Gingrich displayed by criticizing Ryan. The world changed, Newt didn't. "Now, you can probably stick a fork in his campaign."
"Krauthammer: Newt Gingrich is 'done'"
Lots of good campaigns begin poorly: The modern 24/7 news cycle has amplified Gingrich's stumbles, says Sam Stein at The Huffington Post. But while his rocky campaign rollout is a liability, it "also does not have to be completely debilitating." Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and even Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) stumbled out of the gate before cruising to victory. A good candidate can recover from a bad start.
"Newt Gingrich's flame-out says as much about campaigns..."
But Newt's damage control is worse than his gaffes: Gingrich has personally apologized to Ryan, says Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. But it’s possible that Gingrich's massive walkback has actually damaged him more than the initial forehead-slapping comments. Instead of coming across as "defiant," he just looks weak and remorseful. Plus, we all know Newt "isn't the least bit sorry for what he said" — "he's just terribly sorry it probably ended his presidential ambitions."
"Newt Gingrich apologizes to Paul Ryan"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- China's leader is telling the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war
- How I lost all my money
- The best books we read in 2014
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- How to save money: 12 great personal finance tips
- The religious right isn't retreating — it's reforming
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
Subscribe to the Week