The ides of February
February 7th, 2012
04:59 PM ET
2 years ago

The ides of February

Washington (CNN) – Bob Walker has time to rest and talk with a visiting reporter at his Washington office. There's less need to be on the road for the Newt Gingrich backer, surrogate and national campaign chairman.

A former congressman from Pennsylvania, Walker spent a lot of time in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, helping his old friend.


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"In the end, I think it will come down to neither Romney nor Gingrich will have good Februarys," Walker says in a wide ranging conversation with CNN Radio.

Gingrich is not expected to do well in the few contests this month, and will be happy to pick up whatever delegates he can. And Rick Santorum is expected to perform well in the caucuses of Colorado and Minnesota.

"Like South Carolina was our 'firewall'" in January, pushing back on Romney's inevitability, Walker says, "our firewall is largely Super Tuesday where we have the opportunity to carry a number of states."

He expects the former Speaker of the House, under whom he served, to do well in Georgia, Gingrich's home state, as well as Tennessee, Oklahoma and Ohio. Texas, which follows hard is "going to be a good state for us," Walker predicts.

He denounces any stories that the campaign is low on cash, insisting "a very strong financial operation" is being put together thanks in part to former backers of Texas Gov. Rick Perry coming over to Gingrich, whom Perry's endorsed.

And that bodes well for Texas, Walker argues.

He would love to be able to fast-forward to California's primary set for June 5. There is "a whole team in California at the present time. We have deployed a staff to California. We are prepared to go all the way there, because we believe that that last large bloc of delegates may make the difference in a floor fight [at the convention] in Tampa, if it comes to that."

Many who were part of Gingrich's "Contract with America" GOP revolution that took the House in 1995, have, of late been saying bad things about his leadership. The loyal Walker, pooh-poohs their complaints.

"Somehow, when Tom DeLay says bad things about you," Walker laughs, "I'm not so sure that's a terrible thing for our campaign." He says Gingrich's revolution brought reforms, including committee chairmanship turnover that left a lot of people bitter.

"A lot of those resentments are coming forward now." Walker is not surprised so many have turned against him. "When I see the names, I kinda know who the people are who hold personal grudges" against Gingrich.

He claims "three-or-four dozen" one-time House members are backing Gingrich. "Now, we haven't used them as effectively as surrogates," compared to Romney. "One of the things we need to do is beef-up our surrogate operation."

Walker mentions J.C. Watts and Bob Livingston-the latter of which wanted to oust Gingrich as speaker in 1998-as being on Gingrich's team in 2012.

"Surprise, surprise," Walker blurts when asked to respond to the Obama reelection campaign's decision to embrace the idea of the Priorities USA super PAC backing the president, even though he'd denounced the 2010 Supreme Court decision allowing for unlimited outside spending in campaigns.

Gingrich felt the sting of Restore Our Future's spending in Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida on behalf of Mitt Romney. And while there is Winning Our Future to back Gingrich by going after Romney, Walker shakes his head.

"I'm one who really does believe that the way in which we have designed financing of campaigns in this country, has become pretty obscene."

Walker insists Gingrich had all intentions of staying positive in his White House bid until being savaged by Restore Our Future ads in Iowa. "You have to defend yourself!"

He thinks all the negativity "drives down votes" in the primaries and caucuses. "It does not change people minds; it simply makes them so disgusted, they don't come out to vote."

Also see:

Bundlers encouraged to raise for PACs Obama once denounced

Romney says Obama infringing upon religious rights

Biden's 2012 message: 'Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive'


Rocky Mountain High expectations


Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Phil in KC

    Obama uses the Super PACs because they are legal and the other candidates are using them. To deny himself this tool would put him at an instant disadvantage. He would be foolish to do so. That does not mean he likes them or has had some sudden change of heart.

    February 7, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. PTBarnumboy

    Walker was The Newtsters right hand man back in the day. His main job was to light the fuse so The Newtster could throw the bomb.

    February 7, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry's doesn't have any campaign money left, he spent it all leaving it in the negative for the short time he campaigned unless this is the way Gingrich is going to help pay off Perry's debt. What is this guy talking about.

    February 7, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. cisco4

    Just tell Santa running for presdient..not to ban XL'S...

    February 7, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. Nothing new here

    "It does not change people minds; it simply makes them so disgusted, they don't come out to vote."
    ___________________
    You don't say????
    You reap what you sew, too bad for you.

    February 7, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Phil in KC: Very true. And we all need to support the efforts to pass a Constitutional amendment abolishing Super PACs and this whole "corporations are people" nonsense.

    February 7, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  7. ct

    fair is fair...I have a feeling obama is going surpass romney with superpacs..Game time..wait it's only halftime...

    February 8, 2012 05:53 am at 5:53 am |