ATLANTA – Newt Gingrich on Wednesday brushed aside continuing upheaval in his presidential campaign, noting that Republican hero Ronald Reagan suffered defections in his 1980 campaign and went on to win the White House.
"The fact is, campaigns go up and down," the former House speaker said in a speech before the Atlanta Press Club.
"I'm not running to talk about the nuances of the campaign," he said. "I'm running because we have enormous problems."
Gingrich noted that if early political handicapping were accurate, Hillary Rodham Clinton would have been the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, not Barack Obama. And he said John McCain, who went on to win the Republican presidential nomination that same year, survived the walkout of key staff and a lack of cash.
On Tuesday, Gingrich's campaign confirmed that its top fundraisers had left. Sixteen top advisers and staff walked out earlier this month. His campaign for the GOP nomination has struggled to raise money. And it's carrying $1 million in debt, according to people close to the campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss its inner workings.
Gingrich acknowledged that his biggest challenge moving forward would be raising money.
But he said his grass-roots, Internet-based campaign would be "inexpensive."
He chalked up his staff resignations to his unorthodox style.
"I am very different than normal politicians, and normal consultants found that very hard to deal with," he said.
"We made a mistake. We tried to be normal," Gingrich said. "We tried to bring in regular political consultants."
The Washington Post reported late Tuesday that Gingrich had a second line of credit at jeweler Tiffany's worth up to $1 million. It had previously been reported that Gingrich had a line of credit at the luxury jeweler worth up to $500,000. That was on the financial disclosure report of his wife, Callista Gingrich, while she was a House staffer. The most recent line of credit occurred after Callista Gingrich left government service but will be reflected in the personal financial disclosure that Newt Gingrich must file with the Federal Election Commission next month.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said that both lines of credit have been paid off.
Gingrich used his speech Wednesday to call for reforms of the Federal Reserve to provide checks on its ability to manipulate the dollar, bail out corporations and undercut housing prices.
And he said more transparency is needed.
"With so much activity going on behind the closed doors of the Federal Reserve in Washington and New York, we must undertake a full-scale and comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve," Gingrich said.
He labeled the Dodd-Frank law's financial regulations "crazy," saying they would create staggering new costs for banks seeking to comply and hurt the ability of community banks to make loans to businesses that need the cash. Gingrich called for the law's repeal.
Gingrich was set to celebrate his birthday later Wednesday at his campaign headquarters in Atlanta. He turned 68 on June 17.
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