Washington (CNN) – Following the resignations of most of his senior staff and questions about whether he had the commitment to mount a full presidential campaign, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told supporters Friday he knows what the effort will take and is committed to enduring the rigors in order to get his message out.
"As someone who has been in public life for nearly forty years, I know full well the rigors of campaigning for public office. I will endure them. I will carry the message of American renewal to every part of this great land, whatever it takes," Gingrich said in a message emailed to supporters and posted on his Facebook page Friday.
The former House Speaker repeated he is still in the race and that he will take part in the CNN-WMUR-Union Leader debate Monday night in New Hampshire.
"The critical question of how we put Americans back to work will be asked of me and the other Republican candidates. It is the most important question of the campaign," Gingrich wrote.
Sources familiar with the reason for the mass resignations told CNN the staff members had differences with the candidate on how to approach the campaign–especially how to deploy limited resources and to schedule Gingrich’s time on the stump. Campaign events were hard to put on the calendar, as was time with potential big donors. In addition, there were complaints that his wife, Callista, had veto power over all scheduling requests. Sources also point out that the message of the campaign itself became a problem. Gingrich had a hard time making the transition from professional thinker to presidential candidate, preferring to focus on amorphous concepts and issues rather than concrete, voter-friendly issues.
"We had a strategic disagreement about how to run a campaign," Gingrich told ABC News Friday. "There have been very few campaigns that have been solutions oriented and that are oriented to every single American."
Gingrich said he and the staff viewed the campaign in different ways.
"There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run. Now we'll find out what's right," he told ABC.
One departed staff member agreed, but added a critical detail about the departures. He told CNN that Gingrich is "out of money."
"He can't pay his bills," he said. "The light bill doesn't get paid on good will."
"It truly is what you heard, a strategic difference on how the campaign should be run."
And he pinned some of the differences on Gingrich's wife, with whom he closely consults.
"We did not think you should be able to take two weeks off and go on vacation overseas," the former staff member said.
"The Gingrichs don't seem to buy into that. The vacation was Callista's idea. She wanted to go and he couldn't tell her no."
Still, he admitted, "[Gingrich] is the smartest guy in the race."
"But [he's] just making a lot of stupid moves politically."
Among those who left the campaign Thursday were his campaign manager, press secretary, senior strategists and consultants in the key states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Georgia. The exodus raised questions by outside consultants about whether his candidacy can really survive.
Sources have said a major area of disagreement was how much time to spend fundraising, which was a major problem for the campaign. CNN is told that was only exacerbated after Gingrich’s appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press when he called Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal right wing social engineering – setting off a firestorm among Republican activists.
Former congressman Robert Walker, a friend of Gingrich’s, told CNN Friday fundraising was a major issue of disagreement because the staff felt he needed to spend more time fundraising. “The issue came down to ideas vs. money,” Walker said.
In his Friday message to supporters he said he had set out last month, when he first announced his run for the GOP presidential nomination, to run "a substantive, solutions-oriented campaign built upon an alternative agenda" of making Washington smaller and helping to fix America's economic problems. "Because the renewal of America can only begin with you, this will be your campaign."
He told ABC News he was committed to a vigorous campaign schedule.
"I'm prepared to go out and to campaign very intensely, but I want a campaign on ideas and on solutions, and I want to do it in a way that brings Americans together into a large movement," he said.
While many outside experts doubt Gingrich can maintain a viable campaign, those close to him believe it is possible.
“If this ends up being a correction for the campaign that is one thing,” Walker said. “If symbolic of a problem that will continue to fester it will certainly be hard for a campaign in the future.”
One factor that played into this was Gingrich's decision to take a Mediterranean cruise last month after he and aides tried to handle several controversies. Gingrich went back on the campaign trail Wednesday in New Hampshire. On that day he and many of his senior campaign aides had a conference call in which they tried to urge Gingrich to make some needed changes, one source familiar with the discussions told CNN. When Gingrich refused two key aides had a face-to-face meeting with him on Thursday and when they could not come to terms about the direction the campaign would take they resigned and the others followed.
Gingrich does not have any public events before Sunday when he speaks before a Republican Jewish organization in Los Angeles. At that event he is expected to talk about national security, the Mideast and Israel. This spokesman also said – as proof the campaign is moving ahead – Gingrich is planning to unveil a package dealing with housing and economic reforms later this month.
Walker said that event and the upcoming CNN debate are crucial for Gingrich . “He needs to be seen as a serious contender as a result of these” events, he said. “I am not certain that this is something that destroys the campaign, but the response to it will be definitional of what happens to the campaign in the future.”
– CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.
- Follow Kevin Bohn and Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @KevinBohnCNN and @psteinhausercnn
– On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.
"...whatever it takes..."
Does this include committing infidelities?
Stick a fork in him. He's done! His campaign was over before it even started. But I would like to thank Newt on behalf of Democrats and all Americans for calling out the Ryan plan for what it is: RIGHT WING SOCIAL ENGINEERING
When does this old, irrelevant twit figure out, that nobody cares what he does or does not do.
He has been totally compromised for a long time. He will never be elected to anything.
He should go away and hide in shame for the rest of his miserable life.
Bye Bye Newtie...
"As someone who has been in public life for nearly forty years, I know full well the rigors of campaigning for public office.
40 yrs of doing nothing but milking the American taxpayer. Go away Newt, your old news and you have nothing new to bring to the table.
yeah and that's the problem, 40 year old politics aint the same as today and Newt will never get elected again, let alone the nomination trying to win old school. He has to figure out a way to out fox the foxes and I don't think he will be able to do that!
Of all the clown campaigns the GOP has mounted thus far, Gingrich's has been the funniest by far. Can't wait til Sarah gets in and debates Bachmann. TV comedy at it's finest.
Sources familiar with the reason for the resignations told CNN the staffers had differences on how the candidate and they were approaching the campaign, especially on how to deploy campaign resources and Gingrich's time on the stump.
Something is rather odd about this mutiny. The reason stated above does not seem to be strong enough reason for staffs in four states to walk out, including his *home* state. It is as if everyone suddenly ran out of a burning house. Well, the house was in trouble before he took his vacation. Suddenly he returns from a vacation and the smoke in the corner has turned into a fully developed conflagaration. Did it have something to do with the vacation?
Who is ready to join this sinking ship?? Unless you are jobless you want to earn money without producing anything!
Hey $ingrich – you can buy my vote for $1,000,000. Anything less, and it's NO THANKS.
The GOP is in great shape isn’t it ?
Is this the best this country can put forth, my God what a pathetic situation we find ourselves in these days.
"No Newt is Good Newt"
"As someone who has been in public life for nearly forty years" . . . I'll keep doing it because I don't know how else to make this much money from all the rubes that keep giving it to me ! You betcha !
it's a sad day to be a GOP candidate when even the Fox audience is against you!
Although I have nevered liked Newt, I have seen in the past few months, that he has taken a middle of the road style and my thoughts are his aides wanted him to be like the crazies, Palin, Bachman etc and when he decided not to do it, they bailed. So I am interested in seeing what he will do now that he is pretty much on his own. Makes no difference though, the only chance any other party candidate can beat President Obama is if President Obama chooses to quit. Why dont all of you save your money and wait until 2012
so in this economy when working for a boss with deep pockets, what intolerable truths did these staffers learn that the newt's donors and supporters still do not know? That he has no belief that he can win but wants to use the big money donations to bash Obama because it will help the other GOP potential nominees? That he has an ethics / credibility / faith problem? That he is already working on finding the next wife?
Newt must be rolling in dough. Life after Fox and the campaign trail must be nice. He pays of a large Tiffany's bill which he could not pay off while at Fox, and then takes a, what, 2 week cruise around the Mediterranean.
Newter is done. Get out of the GOP clown car you idiot. Go back to your think tanks. Bye.
I think most won't care whether or not he is committed to stay in the game – we want to know the truth (not the spin) of why his team all quit at once.
Another "Thug" from corporate America to the detriment of our great big nation....Lord, save this nation from GOP idiots......
When you consider some of the really sleezy candidates.....it's hard to imagine what would make republican staffers quit enmass! Maybe CNN could arrange to get his e-mails! LOL
Whatever it takes? Start with that wife of yours. You should have spent that half a million tiffany dollars on a better plastic surgeon and hair stylist (helmet head comes to mind) since according to you that amount is standard for anyone!!! Really?????
We appreciate your hard work and sacrifices you make. We know you just were in the Mediterranean brushing up on your foreign policy knowledge by looking at sites in countries that aren't the USA. Kind of like the same way Sarah Palin does when she sees Alaska from her house, and see Putin's ugly head rising up.
Please keep stirring up the pot in the Republican Party, we need your expert leadership in the GOP to win the nomination.
Newtie, pack it up, your somewhat-intelligent staff just bailed. The 'somewhat' qualifier is for them to take that long to realize that they were betting on a great big flake.
Gingrich's people quit because his #3 wife Callista is running the show and has no experience in campaigning, just on how to steal another woman's husband. It's all about Callista and what she wants, jewels, fine wine and lavish cruises.