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Special Report

End of Line for Newt Gingrich?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 9, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think this is gonna be the happiest, most positive, and most fun campaign in my lifetime. I think we're gonna have so many ideas, so many interesting people, so much fun doing things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: It's being described as a "major implosion." Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign team, essentially all left today. The senior staff did at least. You see the campaign manager, the spokesman, senior adviser, another senior adviser, consultants in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire citing irreconcilable differences over the direction of the campaign. Also, another person who left today, the co-chair, the national co-chair, former governor of Georgia Sonny Purdue joined the Pawlenty campaign.

And here's what Gingrich said about this today, he put out a statement, quote, "I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign. I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles." Los Angeles, California, where he'll have an event on Sunday we're told. We're back with the panel. At least that's scheduled now. Karen, what do we know?

KAREN TUMULTY, WASHINGTON POST: Well, what we know is -- that we knew weeks ago -- which is that we're a month into this campaign, it really had one of the most calamitous, I think, beginnings of any campaigns certainly that I can remember. There were a lot of self- inflicted wounds; comments that the Speaker had made; a disastrous interview on "Meet the Press," where he referred to the Republican budget as "right wing social engineering."

And then on top of that, were the kinds of stories that they were getting about the six- figure shopping bills at Tiffany. And Newt Gingrich's strength has always been his ability to engage on ideas. That was just not happening in this campaign. So he went off on this lavish Greek vacation, a cruise, which a lot of his advisers were not very happy about. They thought it was a bad moment to disappear.

He's been in a lot of contact with them by e-mail, he was really planning to push the restart button on Sunday night in Los Angeles with his foreign policy speech followed up with the debates. But by then his advisers were just fed up. They just couldn't see this campaign going forward.

BAIER: So is he out?

TUMULTY: Well, he says no. And we've seen -- John McCain in 2008. Candidates have shown remarkable resilience putting their campaigns back together. It's hard the see how this happens though. Because Newt Gingrich is not known as a good manager, whatever his other virtues. And right now he does not have an organization.

BAIER: Juan?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: Ya know what strikes me is especially Rick Tyler the spokesman leaving, because, ya know, if you know Newt Gingrich you gotta know Rick Tyler. Because he's been there all along, and part of all the enterprises, and Newt Gingrich has several enterprises; books, documentaries, his speaking. And the idea that all of these people who are personally invested in Newt, including Rob Johnson who ran Rick Perry -- Governor Perry of Texas' campaign, would suddenly bail out I think is a bad sign.

BAIER: Well, there's another thing, Charles. You mentioned the Perry campaign. A couple of the folks there had ties to Perry. And now there is more than just whispers that Governor Perry from Texas may get in the race as well.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think it increases the chances that he will, although, I wouldn't attribute the quitting of the staff to jumping ship to Perry. I think it has to do with way that Newt was running his campaign or not running it. Ya know, they spoke about a difference of views about the direction of the campaign. I think direction is the wrong word. It's about the seriousness of the campaign.

Newt is a guy who's a guy of ideas. And I think his view was, he'll do this all out of studios. He'll do well in debates, he'll be out there, he can shine in debates, he'll do the videos, he'll do the internet, but he doesn't want to go out there shaking hands. He's shaken a zillion hands in his lifetime and I'm sure that's not what he wanted to do. So he hasn't appeared on the scene; he's been on vacation. And he thinks he can do it Newt-lite. And I think he's got a staff who believes that is utterly impossible in this day and age.

BAIER: And there were also some money questions, Karen, about the money coming in and whether it was flowing fast enough or as much.

TUMULTY: He's an extraordinary fundraiser. But let's face it, fundraising -- people are making an investment. And people were just not seeing the future of this campaign. Ya know, ironically, his reluctance to do this kind of grass root campaigning was, like I said, it was ironic because he was actually still getting a decent reception out there in places like Iowa. He was getting good crowds.

BAIER: Does he make it a week, down the line?

TUMULTY: I think it's very dicey.

BAIER: Juan?

WILLIAMS: It's up to him. He might gain name recognition, but I think Tim Pawlenty is the big beneficiary here.

BAIER: But is Newt Gingrich in or out for the week?

WILLIAMS: Ya know, look this campaign's over. It's just a matter of if he announces it.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's over, but he's staying in.

BAIER: That is it for panel. But stay tuned for an economic analogy that doesn't seem to be working that well.

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