Newt Gingrich may be bruised after a week of attacks from the right over his views on the GOP Medicare plan, but he assured reporters that he has no intention of backing down from his presidential campaign any time soon.
“I wanted to reassure you in Mark Twain’s tradition that the reports of my campaign’s death are highly exaggerated,” he said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Monday with Washington reporters. Gingrich said that he was highly encouraged by a jaunt in Iowa last week in which he met with locals and drew significant crowds at his rallies.Gingrich has chided the press for piling on his campaign with “gotcha” questions this week and his spokesman, Rick Tyler, penned a lengthy statement condemning the media “sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list” for their coverage. Many of the reporters’ questions at this morning’s event sought to clarify which issues, exactly, Gingrich considered out of bounds.
“By definition, if you run for president anything is on the table — ask Grover Cleveland, ask Andrew Jackson, anything is on the table,” he said. According to Gingrich, however, he hoped to rise above coverage from a news culture where “gossip replaces policy” and keep his campaign centered on his small-government platform.
“I want to focus on a very large conversation about very large scale change and what it’s going to take to make America successful,” he said.
Gingrich took a question from TPM on his lack of support from prominent national Republicans, which he attributed to his status as a DC “outsider.” He has spent many decades working and living in the area.
“I’m not a Washington figure despite the years I’ve been here,” he said. “I’m essentially an American whose ties are across the country and whose interest is how you change Washington, not how you make Washington happy.”
Newt argued that his rough treatment in the press was a positive in that it helped confirm his lack of ties to the unpopular capital city.
“I can’t thank the Washington press corps enough,” he said. “It is impossible to have watched television for the last week and not come to the conclusion that I am definitely not the candiate of Washington, DC.”