Newt Gingrich is laying off a third of his campaign staff and cutting back on his schedule in an effort designed to sustain the candidate’s long-shot ambitions of winning the nomination at the Republican National Convention, Fox News confirms.
Michael Krull, who took the helm as campaign manager when Gingrich suffered a mass staff exodus in June, has been replaced by deputy campaign manager Vince Haley, a longtime policy adviser to the former House Speaker.
“Michael Krull took over the campaign in June at a moment of great turmoil and helped get us to a point where we were the national frontrunner," wrote communications director Joe DeSantis in a statement. "But Newt and he agreed that it was best for him to step aside for this new phase.”
The staff shakeup, first reported by Politico, is designed around a “big choice convention” strategy, which the campaign says will be built around two goals: showing how Gingrich is the most capable candidate to take on the president and courting delegates in anticipation of a brokered convention.
The reorganization will also involve ramping up the candidate’s online presence and slowing down his travel to a more affordable pace.
In an effort to highlight his “big ideas and positive solutions,” Gingrich will attempt to steer clear of what he has been guilty of doing on the stump – attacking his GOP rivals with exceptional ferocity.
Haley’s familiarity with Gingrich’s policy positions and his ability to highlight their significance were cited as reasons behind his new leadership role in the campaign.
This “big choice convention” strategy, of course, depends on front-runner Mitt Romney’s failure to secure enough delegates to win the nomination.
Gingrich has said anything short of 1,144 delegates will create an opening for him make his case to the party at the August convention in Tampa. The candidate described his vision of a “national electronic convention” in an interview with Sean Hannity Monday, where he proposed that the keynote address on the first night could be replaced by a “presidential debate in front of the delegates.”
With just two primary wins under his belt, South Carolina and his home state of Georgia, Gingrich has struggled to raise cash after his Southern strategy was foiled by Rick Santorum’s victories in Mississippi and Alabama. The candidate admitted to reporters Tuesday that finances are “tight” and, asked if he was willing to spend his own money to stay in the race, Gingrich told Bill O’Reilly. “If necessary, but that’s not the point, we are raising some money.”
Tuesday afternoon Gingrich returned to the place where his signature achievement, the "Contract with America," was initially designed. His opening remarks at Salisbury University in Maryland shed light on the candidate’s efforts to change the tone of his campaign.
"I have been trying to wrestle with what I have not been able to communicate,” the former professor told the student audience. “I feel like in a lot of ways in my campaign, I got sucked into normal politics, which is frankly, in large part, a waste of time because it is all negative and it is all baloney and it is all trivial stuff.”
“I ran originally because there were two really large challenges in American politics that I thought needed to be addressed,” Gingrich continued. “The first was a question of the core nature of the United States and the second was the role of innovation in meeting challenges and creating a successful 21st Century America.”
Gingrich said that while public recognition of core American values has clearly increased, the government sector has failed to modernize and encourage innovation. Gingrich said he envisioned an “America so dynamic, so prosperous, so filled with people out doing exciting things that we would pull away from the Chinese just as decisively as 40 or 50 years ago we pulled away from the Russians.”
“There is no reason for this country to have any significant problems. They are almost all an artifact of a really bad governing structure and a really incompetent bureaucratic system,” Gingrich said, revisiting his proposals to overhaul the government in ways that would promote innovation in domestic energy production, space travel, brain science research, and social security reform.
It was in this way that the candidate continued on.