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Now, 'Newt Now!' Gingrich Campaign Video Ups Ante

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Des Moines, IA - An email sent to supporters of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Tuesday could signal yet another notable departure from the viable yet overshadowed campaign of the former House Speaker.

It appears the campaign's strict adherence to its own oft-repeated mantra, that their campaign for president is about finding solutions to the major issues facing America as opposed to 30 second sound bites, is now being reexamined.

Because on Tuesday, a highlight reel full of sound bites was exactly what supporters got.

"Despite all the lies and silly games, the American people are making up their own minds and this campaign is surging!" declared Deputy Communications Director Michelle Selesky, in her email promoting the video.

The email guided recipients to the video, titled "Newt Now", before providing a link to a fundraising page on the campaign's website.

Since the summer, the Gingrich campaign has been grappling with significant challenges, due to fundraising struggles, staff turnover, inconsistent poll numbers, and a series of debate performances where he has been largely overshadowed by candidates whose policies are arguably less complex or well-articulated.

Last month, in Iowa, the campaign unveiled their 21st Century Contract with America. The contract, according to the campaign, is based on four "pillars": New legislation similar to what was proposed in the House Republican's 1994 contract; 50 to 200 executive orders to be signed within hours of the 2013 presidential inauguration; a new system of training presidential appointees; and modernization of government.

The contract would "fundamentally change the trajectory of America," Gingrich told the Des Moines Register in advance of the unveiling, but would most likely take him eight years in the White House to accomplish.

Consistent with Gingrich's own efforts to highlight his lengthy resume in Washington, the text introducing the video notes, "Gingrich is the only candidate with a national record of job creation, balanced budgets, and conservative government reform."

If nothing else, this latest montage of debate footage displays the candidate's knack for melding specific domestic policy positions and ferocious partisan rhetoric.

At no point in the two-and-a-half-minute video is Gingrich shown criticizing his Republican opponents or their respective positions on issues. Instead the campaign elects to replay an array of campaign pledges, which include the immediate repeal of the president's Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank bill, in addition to Gingrich's pronouncement that he would fire Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The president's economic team is not the only group being chastised in the video. In one of the final clips, a finger waving Gingrich urges his fellow Republican candidates to repudiate the media's efforts to get "Republicans to fight each other" in order to "protect Barack Obama," who he said, "deserves to be defeated."

In the email, Selesky also claims to have "watched in disbelief as the media applied one dirty tactic after another," in an alleged effort to "tear down" Gingrich. The email did not make mention of any specific tactics used by the media. Nor did it mention any members of the media by name.

Whether or not such a bias against the candidate exists, Gingrich has shown that he is willing to take the fight directly to the media.

In September, Scott Conroy, the national political reporter for RealClearPolitics, wrote that, "while he (Gingrich) at first struggled to convey a rationale for his candidacy, Gingrich has won increasingly boisterous applause at the Republican debates, which have provided a forum to show off both his cerebral approach and his reflexive disdain for the national media."

And Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post wrote this week that Gingrich, if nothing else, has been a source of entertainment for Republican voters who, thus far, have been unable to settle on a clear front-runner.

According to a CNN poll released October 17, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain are essentially tied for the lead in the race for the GOP nomination, with Rick Perry dropping to a distant third. Newt Gingrich still finds his campaign trailing Texas Congressman Ron Paul, with just 8% approval.

"The only danger for Gingrich is that with so many debates, he will run out of quotable material," said Weiner. However, she also acknowledged that his lengthy career in Congress and overall breadth of historical perspective allow him to "riff" on most questions posed to him.

The next debate is scheduled for November 9, at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

Citizen journalist Michael J. Hunt contributes to Off the Bus from Iowa. If you would like to participate in 2012 election coverage, please sign up at www.OfftheBus.org.

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