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Why is Newt's staff jumping ship?


In the most intriguing political news of the day, the Associated Press reports that a number of high-level campaign staffers for Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign are jumping ship and Fox News' Carl Cameron comments that it was a "a difference of opinion" with the boss on the direction of the campaign. So we're all left to wonder: what were the differing opinions arguing about and what does this sudden shift mean Gingrich's campaign?

Personally, I doubt the debate centered around ideological issues -- anyone who signed onto the Gingrich campaign knows the former Speaker inside and out and even the recent criticisms of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plans were likely not enough to cause this big of a rift in the staff. I'll admit I was pretty surprised to see Gingrich plan a vacation just two weeks into the campaign season -- is the candidate's seeming lack of seriousness a source of frustration for the campaign staff?

The criticism of Ryan and the vacation suggested to me Gingrich might not be in this to win it, but was looking to establish himself in a more moderate position in the party. Remember -- not everyone who runs for president actually wants the job when they start out on the trail. Could Gingrich fall into this category? No one knows except for the candidate himself, but this lack of seriousness may account for the sudden shift in human resources.

Hot Air's Allahpundit also speculates that recent buzz about a potential Rick Perry run may have led some Gingrich staffers to reconsider whose team they wanted to play on. The Washington Post recently reported:

One potential hitch in any Perry planning is the fact that his long-time chief political adviser, David Carney, is now helping former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in his presidential campaign. In addition, Rob Johnson, who managed Perry’s reelection campaign last year, is now Gingrich’s campaign manager.

But one person close to Perry said he could not imagine Carney not being at Perry’s side if the governor runs. Conversely, this person said he could not imagine Perry deciding to run if he were not certain Carney would be part of his team. As another person close to Perry said, “I don’t want to do this without Carney.”

Coincidentally, Carney was one of the top staffers who jumped ship today.  Can we soon expect an announcement from the Perry camp?

In the meantime, Gingrich insists he's staying in the race:

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.
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