Opinion Brief

Newt Gingrich's latest mutiny: The final blow?

After most of Newt's top aides ditched him, his floundering campaign was on life support. Now, his campaign finance team has walked out the door, too

Newt Gingrich was the subject of several political obituaries after his campaign manager and 15 other top aides quit en masse two weeks ago. Then, on Tuesday, his two top fundraising advisers joined the exodus. As if things couldn't get worse, anonymous sources are alleging that the Gingrich campaign is at least $1 million in debt, thanks to lackluster fundraising and Newt's profligate spending on travel. And there are new reports that the former House speaker had a second politically toxic line of credit at luxury jeweler Tiffany — this one for up to $1 million. Are these new developments the final death blow to Gingrich's teetering presidential campaign?

Gingrich is running on empty: Newt said he found it "liberating" when most of his top staff jumped ship, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. So he "must be feeling really free today." Seriously, Gingrich's finance team was the only thing keeping him a (sort of) viable candidate. Now what does he have left? His wife, his car, and massive debt? "Whether he chooses to remain an official candidate, Gingrich's campaign is over.""Stick a fork in him"

Newt can still drag this out: Gingrich says he's staying in the race, says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. And "there's always the possibility that Gingrich can rebuild his finance and political operations over the next few months" — it's been done before. But in the meantime, he's stuck with a bare-bones, ideas-focused campaign "that centers on appearances at candidate forums and debates and making speeches on a variety of policy topics.""Gingrich campaign hit by more departures"

Gingrich was never in it to win: The entire Gingrich campaign so far "looks like a pretty obvious fiasco," says Michael Crowley at TIME. "But only if you assume that victory was Newt's exclusive goal." He may not run a tight ship, but he's obviously "a shrewd businessman and self-promoter," and he has lots of books and DVDs to sell. As long as he's getting free publicity, "he'll hang in the race for as long as he can — or at least until those limited edition box sets run out.""Gingrich 2012 and Gingrich, Inc."

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