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Gingrich axes third of staff, cuts travel

Newt Gingrich's bid for the White House seems to have hit a rough patch, financially speaking. The 2012 candidate and former house speaker is laying off roughly a third of his campaign staff, is replacing his campaign manager and cutting back on travel. The Morning Joe panel discusses.


WASHINGTON, DC — Newt Gingrich's campaign is laying off a third of its paid staff, replacing its campaign manager, and lightening the campaign schedule as he continues with poor finishes in elections and is receiving little incoming money for his campaign.

“The campaign is being redesigned to focus on Tampa,” campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News.

News of the cutbacks were first reported by Politico Tuesday evening. 

Michael Krull, an Iowan and college friend of Gingrich’s wife, Callista, who took over as campaign manager shortly after most of Gingrich’s original staff ditched him last summer, agreed to resign his position last weekend. Now, Vince Haley, the current deputy campaign manager and policy director, will assume the role.

Hammond refused to comment on what other staff were let go, saying “he will not discuss personnel matters.”

Gingrich’s campaign has been struggling to stay afloat financially for several weeks — posting slightly more debt than cash on hand in the last FEC filing for February. The former House Speaker, though, continues to promise he will go all the way to the Republican convention in Tampa this August unless another candidate obtains all 1,144 delegates beforehand.

Asked earlier today while campaigning in Maryland if he realistically has enough money to last him until the summer, Gingrich said he does.

“The money is very tight obviously,” he told reporters outside the state house.

The speaker even alluded to this apparent staff shake up, as well.

When asked by reporter in Annapolis this morning if he was asking his staff to take pay cuts, Gingrich said: “Well we're working through what it is going to take to get there [to the convention] and I think probably Joe DeSantis or R.C. will have something to say about that in the next day or two.”

Gingrich typically holds anywhere from three to five public campaign events a day but on Wednesday, Gingrich only has one public event scheduled in Washington, D.C. This trend will continue for the campaign as they begin to lighten the number of events.

Communications director Joe DeSantis tells NBC News as far as cutting back travel, “You will see Newt spend longer stretches of time in key states rather than bouncing from state to state.”

The speaker was originally scheduled to spend Wednesday in North Carolina but then cancelled the trip just yesterday.

These shakeups will undoubtedly increase speculation and calls for Gingrich to exit the GOP race. He has only won two states — his home state of Georgia and South Carolina — and is trailing both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the delegate count.