WATERLOO, Iowa — Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says he's not surprised that the first week of his formal campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has been bumpy.
Gingrich told reporters Thursday that he's calling for real change, and that causes controversy.
He says his campaign is alive and well despite an angry response by some Republicans to earlier comments he made about a House Republican plan to dramatically change Medicare. The outcry over Gingrich's comment that the GOP plan was "right-wing social engineering" prompted him to apologize to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the force behind the plan.
Gingrich returned to Iowa for a three-day trip with stops throughout the state. He spoke first in Waterloo, where 150 people gave him an enthusiastic response and many remained to have their pictures taken with him.
The Des Moines Register reports that the former House Speaker asked supporters to appear in a video to help keep his presidential political operation alive after a rocky first week as a declared candidate on the trail.
“Any of you who are willing to do just a brief video with him [an Iowa campaign staffer] of why you’re for me it would be very helpful ’cause we have to sort of convince the Washington news media that actually the voters will decide when this election is over, not five or six pundits,” he said.
HuffPost's Jon Ward reported on Wednesday:
Gingrich's catastrophic first week as an official Republican primary candidate may knock him out of the race before it even gets started. And if he stays in, fundraising will now be much more difficult, and that could hasten his exit, Republican sources said.
The former House Speaker from Georgia's once biggest advantage over other long shot candidates -- an established fundraising network -- is withering before his eyes.
Meanwhile, Democrats are aiming to capitalize on the controversy. In a newly-released web ad, the Democratic National Committee highlights Gingrich's initial criticism of Ryan's plan and the conservative backlash that ensued following his remarks.
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