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AP: Senior aides quit Gingrich campaign

The Associated Press is reporting that several top aides to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich have quit the 2012 hopeful's campaign.

From AP:

Newt Gingrich's campaign manager and numerous other key aides have resigned together, a strong blow to his hopes for the Republican presidential nomination.

Ginrgrich press spokesman Rick Tyler told The Associated Press that he's resigned along with campaign manager Rob Johnson, senior strategists and aides in key early primary states.

Gingrich’s campaign got off to a rocky start. Confusion resulted when he offered only a brief announcement of his new website during a heavily-publicized campaign appearance in March. News coverage of his formal announcement in May was largely overshadowed by his appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, when he appeared to dismiss a GOP proposal to overhaul Medicare as “right-wing social engineering.”

He has battled questions about his personal life, most recently a POLITICO report revealing a high-dollar credit account with Tiffany’s luxury jewelry store. And he was ridiculed in the press for taking a lengthy vacation with his wife just a few weeks after he formally launched his campaign.

*** UPDATE *** NBC's Chuck Todd and Mark Murray report: NBC has confirmed the news that top aides to Gingrich -- including Dave Carney, who was heading up Gingrich's efforts in New Hampshire -- have resigned from the campaign.

Carney is a former key adviser to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is mulling a presidential bid. And Carney says in a statement to NBC: "The professional team came to the realization that the direction of the campaign they sought and Newt vision for campaign were incompatible."

In addition to Carney, Politico is reporting that other key aides have departed the Gingrich campaign as well. They include campaign manager Rob Johnson, spokesman Rick Tyler, and consultant Katon Dawson.

*** UPDATE 2 *** NBC's Domenico Montanaro reports: Longtime Gingrich ally and attorney, Randy Evans, tells First Read that, yes, senior aides have resigned today en masse from the Gingrich campaign, but he is still on board Gingrich's presidential run.

Among those who have quit today, the man in charge of Gingrich's campaign in Iowa, Craig Schoenfeld, Schoenfeld tells First Read.

"Bottom line was there was a difference in opinion on how to conduct the campaign, in Iowa, the early primary states, and nationally," Schoenfeld said. "Mr. Gingrich deserves to surround himself with those that share his vision on how to conduct his campaign. I remain a Newt Gingrich fan… I think he would be an incredible president. I wish him the best of success."

As reported earlier, others out: longtime Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler, strategist Dave Carney, campaign manager Rob Johnson. Others have also reported consultant Katon Dawson.

Asked why this happened, Evans said, "Very similar to John McCain in July 2007." 

The implication being that McCain was counted out, but came back to win.