Gingrich's 'wild and wooly' Iowa tour
December 29th, 2011
02:29 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich's 'wild and wooly' Iowa tour

Sioux City, Iowa (CNN) – On his first stop of the day at an empty coffee shop, Newt Gingrich asked one of the patrons if they had any advice for the Republican presidential candidate who appears to be losing his grip on voters here.

After picking up a coffee with his wife Callista, Gingrich walked up to a handful of people standing around a table. "Any advice?"

"Just be yourself. Do what you do best. We're behind you 100 percent, sure," said the only person who answered the question.

"We're just going to stay positive and keep talking about ideas," Gingrich said to them. "But it is wild and wooly."

The latest CNN/Time/ORC International poll released Wednesday showed the once-thriving top tier presidential candidate slipping. But the former House speaker appeared to be banking on the undedicideds going to caucus Jan. 3 to deliver him a stronger finish than anticipated.

"I think everybody's trying to sort out what's going on," Gingrich told reporters. "This is not a time to send an amateur to Washington."

The former speaker continued to drive home that point as he made stops on his eight-day, 22-city bus tour through the Hawkeye State.

Gingrich prides himself on answering a lot of questions at every stop, and he asked each person whose hand he shook for their help when they caucus.

But he appeared to be pulling in smaller crowds than he has in recent days. There were fewer than 70 people at his Thursday morning townhall at the Sioux City convention center. Over the last two days he's pulled in crowds no larger than 200 at each location.

That's not insignificant, but compared to presidential rival former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney, who draws large crowds with people in overflow rooms, it's another indication the excitement is elsewhere.

The former speaker has tried to pick up ground in other ways. He's countered the millions spent on negative attack television ads by some opponents and third party groups by holding frequent telephone town halls with Iowans to clear up any distortions on his record. He said 32,000 people dialed into his last two tele-town halls and he planned to hold one every day except Sunday.

Last week Gingrich was downplaying his chances in Iowa saying he'd be comfortable coming in third place. Asked Thursday whether he would drop out if he came in fourth place, the former speaker said no.

A reporter followed up, "So there are more than three tickets out of Iowa?"

"Oh sure, I mean it depends on what happens, it depends what the margins are," Gingrich said. "Considering I'm more than 20 points ahead in some other states it would be fairly foolish not to stay in the race. It is a long way from here to picking the nominee."

Also see:

Occupy vs. Ron Paul

Dole calls old Iowa allies to push Romney

Gingrich's 'wild and wooly' Iowa tour

Romney's Iowa confidence grows

Perry ad in Iowa calls GOP rivals DC-insiders


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Marcus

    Is anyone seriously voting for any of these GOP pack of fools.

    December 29, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. T'sah from Virginia

    ►"Considering I'm more than 20 points ahead in some other states it would be fairly foolish not to stay in the race. ◄

    But you need to get to those states ginGRINCH – If you FAIL in the first two or three, you're DONE!!

    Obama 2012

    December 29, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Newt, you gotta get your act together buddy! Missing the Virginia primary is a very bad move.

    December 29, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "Any advice?"
    "Triple my pay or I tell everyone in the media that this is totally staged. Say yes by smiling and nodding at me."

    December 29, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Logic in LA

    IOWA – Who cares?- no delegates, not vote only a short-timed popularity contest that excludes most people.
    Why not just do another straw poll and save time and money?

    December 29, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Here's some advice Newton. Stop putting on this facade that you're going to run a positive campaign. People in your party don't like positive. They want Nasty Newt to come out. Don't say I didn't give you advice.

    December 29, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Jamie from Riverside

    Oh I wish he had asked me for some advice. Go home already and take your manniquin with you.

    December 29, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Michael

    Newt believes he can out debate the president. I think he is underestimating him. And he better check the polls in those other states.His 20 point lead is all but gone.

    December 29, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Jamie from Riverside

    So the old fool had only a handful of people show at an otherwise empty campaign stop today?
    People must have heard of his crazy scheme to fire judges who don't agree with him...have them arrested by the capital police no less or of his Charles Dickens era idea to send children to go clean toilets. Thank goodness he asserted he didn't want to send them to mine coal (wink, wink).

    December 29, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Mark

    Newt is a joke. His quote of, "This is not time to send an amateur to Washington" is a double edged sword for him because 1) he is a career politician... Americans are sick and tired of the ways things are and thus want an outsider for President and 2) he is an amateur as well... for example, the fact that he was unable to get on the ballot in his own state is pathetic and shows that he is no where close to running a viable campaign. Lastly, the fact that every time Newt speaks he has to tout how many supporters he has showing up to his calls, events, etc shows that he is well aware that he is slipping and soon to be dead in the water. Whenever someone decides to do some research to see if the numbers he claims are in fact valid, it always comes out that they are not as high as he claims.

    December 29, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |