Breaking: Gingrich replaces campaign manager, lays off one-third of staff — to focus on the convention

Clearly it’s his campaign manager and the staff who are the problem.

Alternate headline: “Gingrich finally approaching the fifth stage of grief.”

It’s largely a strategy of necessity: The former House Speaker is a distant third in delegates, behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. His campaign-finance report for February, released last week, showed more debt ($1.55 million) than cash on hand ($1.54 million).

DeSantis said the former Speaker will continue to visit states with primaries, but will have a less intense campaign schedule. DeSantis promised that the campaign will be “more positive and ideas-focused,” eschewing attacks on Republican rivals. The aide said the campaign will be more digital, focusing on low-cost communications tools, including informational videos, social media and the web…

DeSantis elaborated on the announcement in an email: “Newt 2012 is transitioning into an organization appropriate for winning a big choice convention. This big choice convention phase will be focused on two goals. 1. Affecting the national dialogue to show that Gingrich is the most capable of defeating Obama, by leading on issues that put the president on defense – like Newt’s $2.50 Gas Plan; and 2. A parallel communications strategy directly to the delegates…

“Furthermore, the fact is the more than a million more people have voted against Mitt Romney than for him. We believe that if Governor Romney is unable to secure 1144 by the last primaries, he will be unable to do so at the convention where the vast majority of the delegates are conservative. That creates and environment at the convention where Gingrich can emerge as the one candidate who can unite social, economic and national security conservatives (a fact which is borne out by polling).”

Like I said in the earlier Gingrich post, that last paragraph is pure fantasy. If you’ve reached the point in a convention floor fight where, for whatever reason, both Romney and Santorum are deemed unacceptable, why wouldn’t you roll the dice on a dark horse outsider? You’re much better off with someone like Christie or Paul Ryan who’s young, appealing, superb on the seminal issue of fiscal reform, and yet to have their national image defined than you are with High-Negatives Newt. Passing over the guy with the most delegates and the guy with the second-most delegates means you’re thinking way out of the box on the nomination, which means there’s no reason to limit your choice to the people who are running. Although I guess choosing someone who hasn’t held elective office since the 90s and who can’t seem to win anywhere except his home state and the state next door would qualify as “way out of the box.” Way, way out.

I don’t know, guys. I’m starting to think maybe he really believes in this ludicrous convention idea. What other explanation is there? Exit question: Why on earth would he cite Romney’s vote total as relevant to the delegates’ calculus when Newt himself is much closer to Ron Paul’s total than to Romney’s?

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