After failing to qualify on the primary ballot in Virginia this weekend when a last minute effort to obtain 10,000 valid signatures, which had to include at least 400 signatures from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts, Newt Gingrich is hoping that the failure can help focus his campaign as it starts a crucial bus tour in Iowa on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Gingrich’s National Campaign Director, Michael Krull, in a Facebook post, compared the campaign’s failure to Pearl Harbor.
“Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941: We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action,” Krull wrote. “Throughout the next months there will be ups and downs; there will be successes and failures; there will be easy victories and difficult days – but in the end we will stand victorious.”
Krull continued: “Newt and I have talked three or four times today and he stated that this is not catastrophic – we will continue to learn and grow. Remember that it was only a few months ago that pundits and the press declared us dead after the paid consultants left. They declared that the decision not to compete in the Ames Straw Poll would mean that Iowans would ignore us. Some will again state that this is fatal.”
This outlandish comparision reminded many of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s reaction when Alabama lost to Louisiana-Monroe in 2007, Saban’s first year as head coach.
“Changes in history usually occur after some kind of catastrophic event,” Saban said then. “It may be 9/11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, and that was a catastrophic event.”
Two years later, Alabama learned from that letdown and won the nationa championship.
Unlike Saban and Alabama, Gingrich and his campaign do not have the luxury of time, and that is why their bus tour that will take them to more than 40 cities across Iowa is so important.
Gingrich will focus on his plans to revive the economy. Gingrich will also undoubtedly speak about American exceptionalism. Gingrich’s bus tour is aptly named the “Jobs and Prosperity” tour. And his tour bus has “Restoring The America We Love” painted on the side.
Gingrich is in a virtual three-way tie for first place heading into the final week before Iowans caucus on Jan. 3, and a win on Jan. 3 may give Gingrich the one-on-one matchup with Romney that he and his campaign think he will win.
If Gingrich can get enough momentum coming out of Iowa, his Virginia snafu may not matter in the long run. But because of this weekend’s mishap in Virginia, Iowa has become a much more important state for Gingrich than it was last week.