latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-gingrich-campaign-20110609,0,7972467.story

latimes.com

Newt Gingrich's top aides resign en masse

By Tom Hamburger and Michael A. Memoli

12:46 PM PDT, June 9, 2011

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Only weeks old, Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign is on life support following the mass departure of his entire senior staff.

Gingrich's longtime aide, Rick Tyler, confirmed Thursday afternoon that he and other top aides had resigned.

"My idea of what it would take to win was different from that of the Speaker and given those differences, I felt that I had to leave," he said. He added that "I hope Newt comes to a path to victory. And I do believe he would make a great president."

Craig Schoenfeld, the former House speaker's top Iowa adviser, told close associates he planned to resign because of lack of commitment from Gingrich to pursuing a "path to victory" including rigorous grassroots campaigns in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire and an ambitious fundraising schedule.

Other reports also include campaign adviser Rob Johnson, strategists Sam Dawson and Dave Carney, and South Carolina adviser Katon Dawson among the aides who are moving on.

In a statement, Gingrich said he planned to soldier on.

"I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring. The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles," he said.

He is scheduled to address the Republican Jewish Coalition's Summer Bash Sunday at 7 p.m. PDT at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

Problems for Gingrich's presidential ambitions emerged from the outset, but reached a crisis inside the campaign last week when the candidate disappeared with his wife on what was described as a "long planned vacation."

As he began a cruise in the Greek isles, a prominent Iowa campaign organizer, Will Rogers, resigned saying at the time he was concerned about the timing of the vacation and about whether Gingrich was committed to the grassroots campaigning necessary to win the nomination.

Rogers said Thursday that after he announced his resignation he had sympathetic calls from other top Gingrich staffers.

Tyler's departure was particularly striking. He has worked with Gingrich in his political and private enterprises for years. Tyler said he would not remain associated with Gingrich going forward. "I will find a new path," he said. "I don’t know what it is yet."

The news comes only days before Gingrich is to participate in a debate with six other Republican presidential hopefuls in New Hampshire, the first significant forum of the primary season. He skipped last week's Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, which featured most other likely and official Republican candidates.

That field remains in flux. Speculation is growing that Texas Gov. Rick Perry may choose to enter the race; some of Gingrich's aides have also advised Perry.

Gingrich kicked off his campaign on May 11 with a YouTube video sent to supporters. But only days later, he was under fire from fellow Republicans for comments during an appearance on "Meet The Press," when he called the Republican Medicare proposal "right-wing social engineering."