ATLANTIC, Iowa -- Newt Gingrich wrapped up his 2011 campaign year with a bang…or at least with a rather flashy event.
Amongst flats of Coca-Cola products, the Newt Gingrich bus pulled inside a bottling company as music blared through speakers — an entrance with much more bells and whistles than normal for the former House speaker, and perhaps signifying a new phase of the campaign as the Iowa Caucuses linger just three short days away.
“This the opening three minutes of the Super Bowl, we're learning a lot about what our opponents will do. They are nastier and more dishonest than I expected, so we'll have to make some adjustments,” Gingrich told reporters during a press conference following the town-hall at Coca-Cola Atlantic Bottling Company. “It's just exactly like the Super Bowl, you see the opening series, you think about it, think about what you need to do next, it's going to be a very long game,” he noted saying this changes will come after the New Year.
This upbeat event, with patriotic songs “Only in America” and “Independence Day” playing as Gingrich took to and left the stage, comes during what has been a trying time for the campaign. The Speaker has been under constant attack on television and in mailboxes for weeks, his poll numbers have been slipping significantly in the Hawkeye State [new NBC News/Marist poll shows him in 5th place], and it seems his health has been dragging down his enthusiasm.
“I don’t know if I picked up a slight flu or something but I had about 24 hours of being less than my normal ebullient self,” Gingrich finally admitted to reporters who have been noticing a change in the candidate’s demeanor this week. He insisted that he has been “campaigning all this life” and is not tired just “piqued last night.”
This is the Speaker’s 19th event on his “Jobs and Growth Bus Tour “ across the first-in-the-nation caucus state. He hopes this last push in Iowa will help him win over caucus-goers before they head to caucus.
“I think we will have a pretty competitive Tuesday night,” Gingrich said.
One elderly gentleman, who will speak at his caucus on Gingrich's behalf, attended today’s town-hall with roughly 150 other Iowans and may have brought Gingrich the good luck he needs to win the nomination.
He told the Speaker the last two candidate's hands he shook hands with became president and now wants to shake Gingrich's hand.
"Now that's a good omen," Gingrich said after the two men shook hands.
Gingrich picks back up on his Iowa bus tour first thing New Years Day and the campaign said depending on the venue, this type of campaign style will be implemented.