After just two weeks on the campaign trail, Newt Gingrich has gone on a vacation with his wife, Callista. Gingrich has not made a public appearance since a Rotary Club lunch in South Carolina on May 27, and his next one is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8. This holiday comes after the former House speaker's bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination got off to a rough start, largely due to controversial comments about the House GOP Medicare plan, and reports that he ran up a $500,000 revolving tab at luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. Is Gingrich conceding that he's already in trouble, or is he just resting up before the campaign goes into high gear?
It sure looks like Gingrich is giving up: "The timing of the vacation is odd," says Dave Davidson at The Iowa Republican. If he really just needed a little rest, he should have done it before he announced his candidacy. While on his cruise in Greece, Gingrich missed a chance to woo skeptical evangelicals at Ralph Reed's big Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference. That sends the message that he's not committed to this race.
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This break could help stop the bleeding: Every time Gingrich "opens his mouth he drops 10 points in the polls," says Patroon at Conservative Heritage Times. "Perhaps by shutting up and staying out of sight he can continue to be competitive." And remember, even at sea, Gingrich is managing to tout his candidacy with electronic missives via Facebook and Twitter. Maybe the technologically savvy Gringrich is pioneering a new style of campaigning for "our globalized, interconnected world."
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Let's not read too much into this: It's legitimate to ask whether the timing of this trip will put Gingrich at a disadvantage in an increasingly crowded field of GOP candidates, says Kendra Marr at Politico. But he scheduled this time off before his rocky start — he told Ralph Reed months ago that he couldn't make the Faith and Freedom conference. Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler says a little time off won't hurt, and will energize Gingrich for the "very long road ahead."
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