GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich this morning pushed back against his former staff, accusing his Atlanta office of neglecting $13,000 in checks to his campaign.
Gingrich may want to be careful. The consultant in charge of that office said all viable checks were sent to the candidate’s main office near Washington D.C. – and that there probably was a reason if any were held.
In a morning interview with Martha Zoller (FM103.7 WXKT) in Gainesville, Gingrich declared his disappointment in a team that not only quit, but also talked to reporters afterwards.
Listen to the entire interview here. Said Gingrich:
”At least in the case of Georgia, we discovered that they hadn’t been doing their job in at least a month. … As we began to get ready for some events in Atlanta, we discovered last night there were $13,000 in checks that were just sitting in a drawer that nobody processed. To have people that I had trusted, I’d known for years, fail that deeply was very sad.”
Scott Rials is the veteran GOP political consultant who was in charge of that office. He gives Gingrich credit for giving him his start in politics.
“I’m saddened by where this is going. Our staff did everything they could under trying circumstances. They looked after every check – because there were very few checks. All properly vetted checks were sent to Washington D.C.”
Federal campaigns will return a check to a candidate that is written on a corporate account rather than a personal one, or is beyond the allowed cap on contributions.
The Gingrich slap at Rials isn’t isolated. This from new Gingrich spokesman Joe DiSantis posted by Robert Costa and the National Review:
“The complaint that Gingrich never set foot in the Georgia office is very strange,” he says, shaking his head as we chat. “We had press events scheduled at the office, but our former point man there (Scott Rials) nixed them. When we went down to the office this past week, we heard about how badly things were being run. Volunteers were not getting calls back, endorsements were not being lined up the way they could have. Totally inexcusable and unprofessional.”
Gingrich is scheduled to speak to the Atlanta Press Club next Wednesday.
The former U.S. House speaker on Tuesday morning declared that Washington’s media elite was out to “destroy” him. And last night, the candidate demanded an apology from NBC News for airing a report that suggested the involvement of Gingrich’s third wife, Callista, in his campaign was one reason for his staff’s departure:
Said Gingrich to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren:
”I thought NBC this morning, in a program that had nobody on camera, nobody quoted by name, that quoted reporters talking anonymously about cowardly people, who, frankly, lied about my wife — and I believe NBC owes Callista an apology.
“The fact is, my campaign is my campaign. Yes, we make decisions as a couple, but in the end, I take full responsibility. And I think the program this morning was totally irresponsible and personally reprehensible and the kind of thing that makes it hard to get decent people to run for public office.”
This afternoon in Smyrna, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will show off his endorsement from Attorney General Sam Olens and tour a local pie factory – all a prelude to a private Atlanta fund-raiser this evening.
Recommendation to the Romney crowd: Nothing loosens up a crowd like a Tony Curtis/Jack Lemmon-style pie fight.
The Olens endorsement is no surprise, and not exactly news. The former Cobb County commission chairman has been on the Romney train for a while – and Romney gave Olens a prominent endorsement and a check – well before last year’s July primary.
The quote from Olens released this morning: “Mitt Romney has a proven record of creating jobs, balancing budgets, and cutting taxes. He has the needed experience to lead the country out of this economic downturn.”
The Wall Street Journal has more details of the “Gang of Six” (minus one) effort pushed by U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Mark Warner of Virginia to reduce the nation’s $14 trillion deficit:
The plan, which hasn’t been formally circulated, would reduce the deficit by $4.7 trillion over 10 years, Erskine Bowles said at a dinner Tuesday evening. The plan is largely modeled on a proposal that the White House’s deficit-reduction commission, led by Mr. Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, presented last year. But the Warner/Chambliss group appears to have found more reductions than Bowles/Simpson, which called for roughly $3.9 trillion in reductions over 10 years.
Mr. Bowles, speaking at a dinner held by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said the Warner/Chambliss deficit cuts would consist of 25% tax increases and 75% spending and interest payment cuts.
Mark Winne of Channel 2 Action News has a report questioning the wisdom of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s participation in a fundraiser for Clayton County Commissioner Wole Ralph, whom the mayor’s police force have tagged on a DUI charge.
The mayor responded with something like what we heard from Gov. Nathan Deal in the matter of Newt Gingrich:
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider