Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says key aides abandoned his campaign last week because he is approaching 2012 with a vision outside the conventional Republican box. Gingrich also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday he feels “liberated” after the mutiny and he can pursue the GOP nomination as he sees fit.
Gingrich said he is engaging a “campaign that’s inclusive, that brings together everybody in America of every ethnic background who wants to change Washington,” and the 16 aides who left had a more traditional approach.
“And I think that that was so different from the normal Republican model, that there just wasn’t a fit — I frankly feel liberated,” Gingrich said. “With the exception of only one person, all of my original team is still with me. And in every single state where we lost some people, we’ve actually gained new people who are excited by the idea that we could have a genuinely different grassroots campaign to change Washington.”
Gingrich — whose new book “A Nation Like no Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters” is just out — said his vision will lead to GOP control of elected and appointed offices nationwide.
“I think that Newt 2012 is the biggest threat to end the 80-year majority of the left in the bureaucracies, the judgeships, the policies that this city has seen. And I think whether you are a member of the establishment on the right or a member of the establishment on the left, the idea of a genuine grassroots rebellion is very unnerving,” Gingrich said. “Remember, [Sen. Barry] Goldwater was opposed by virtually the entire Republican establishment. Ronald Reagan was opposed — people preferred John Connelly, George H.W. Bush, Howard Baker — Reagan was seen as a genuine outsider.
“And I think people here realize that I really am different. I’m totally committed to developing a generation of new solutions,” he said. “And I’m prepared to side with the American people against the entire Washington establishment — if that’s what it takes for us to change Washington.”
Hannity wanted to know Gingrich’s reaction to Monday’s GOP debate in New Hampshire, as he had been absent from the public arena for so long.
“Well, I think it was actually helpful for me to be gone for the last 12 years, because I really see my role as a citizen, not as a traditional politician,” Gingrich said. “And I went to the debate last night as a citizen — I felt very comfortable, very relaxed.
“I thought the funniest thing was how much we disappointed the elite media,” he said. “They wanted us to fight each other.”
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