Gingrich Looks For Hail Mary With Latest Campaign Shakeup

Gingrich turns to sports metaphors in wake of campaign shakeup.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks at a rally at the Jackson Hilton on March 8, 2012 in Jackson, Mississippi.

Newt Gingrich acknowledges the numerous recent setbacks in his presidential campaign, but like a finely-skilled quarterback or point guard, he will never back down.

In response to questions from Washington radio station WTOP Wednesday morning about his persistence in the 2012 race, Gingrich turned to sports analogies.

[Read about the Gingrich campaign's tense relationship with reporters.]

"I find it fascinating. None of you guys would call a football team or a basketball team and say, 'Gee, why don't you drop out?' You say, 'OK, there's a season. Let's play the season out. Let's see what happens."

He also invoked the Atlanta Braves' disappointing 2011 season, in which the team went from a large mid-season lead in the standings to missing the chance for a playoff berth.

"I'm from Atlanta. We were ten and a half games ahead of St. Louis with 28 games to go. No one on the St. Louis team decided to quit, because there were still 28 games to go."

A more apt comparison might involve boxing, because the hits just keep on coming for the Gingrch campaign. In a move first reported last night by Politico, Gingrich has decided to fire one-third of his campaign staff, including his campaign manager. The goal, campaign communications director Joe DeSantis told Politico, is to focus more intently on August's Republican convention in Tampa, Fla..

The move comes after a rough few weeks for the Gingrich campaign. He has been slipping in the delegate race, and after disappointing showings in Illinois and Louisiana, he now has 135 delegates to Rick Santorum's 273 and Mitt Romney's 568. The last print reporter left Gingrich's campaign earlier this week.

[Read more about the 2012 race on our Ballot 2012 blog.]

Fundraising took a turn for the worse in February, with the campaign raising $2.6 million, less than half of January's $5.5 million, and reporting more than $1.5 million in debt.

Still, Gingrich insists he's sticking around, saying that Romney has to earn his win. Dropping out, he says, would be conceding loss too early.

"Mitt Romney doesn't have 1,144 delegates, and there's no sign yet that he's guaranteed getting 1,144," he told WTOP.

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