As he readies his 2012 GOP presidential bid, long-time allies, aides, and associates of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are predicting that he can win the nomination and maybe be at President Obama if he does two things: finally become a disciplined speaker who focuses on just a few key points, and make his pretty blond wife Callista a main campaign feature.
Famous for being the GOP's "big thinker," even his strongest supporters say Gingrich too often detours from his main topic when talking with groups, supporters, and even reporters. But they feel that a campaign will offer unusual discipline and that he will learn to train his focus. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the GOP 2012 candidates.]
As for his wife, supporters say she can be a strong, up-front asset in quieting concerns about his three marriages. Plus, she has strong relationships with other influential GOP women she can tap for events.
"There is a package there between the two that, if handled right, can steamroll the Republican field," said one ally.
Below is the Whispers list of 11 reasons Gingrich can win the nomination and potentially beat Obama, drawn from several Gingrich associates.
11 Reasons Newt Gingrich Will Win The GOP Nomination
1. Ideas and solutions: Given the concerns voters have about the direction of the country, and particularly about the economy, they are more focused on the policies of politicians and the solutions they will produce. Policy is Newt's strength. He is well known for his constant generation of ideas and solutions.
2. He has solved many of these problems before: Voters are concerned about jobs, the economy, and the deficit. When Gingrich was speaker, he handled all three, and the government realized a surplus.
3. Bipartisanship: Gingrich was able to work with President Clinton to create jobs, grow the economy, balance the budget, implement welfare reform, and cut taxes. [See editorial cartoons on the economy.]
4. Understands the difficulties of the presidency: As speaker, he was third in line for the presidency, so he has an understanding of what that responsibility entails and the burdens associated with it.
5. He knows how to run a large operation: A presidential campaign is a huge and complex operation that is sometimes difficult to keep on course. The 1994 congressional majority for Republicans after 40 years in the minority reflects his ability to coordinate a huge amount of people, resources, and individual campaigns to create a brand new majority coalition, and then to sustain it.
6. He is the party's idea man: The number of ideas he has would fill up the to-do lists of most cabinet members.
7. Creatively uses latest communications technologies, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, or just regular E-mail: He has 1.7 million E-mail addresses to tap to spread his agenda and raise money. [Vote now: Who is your pick for the 2012 GOP nomination?]
8. Resources won't be a problem: Newt has always been able raise the money needed, whether for himself or the party.
9. He has conservative credentials: The 1994 election of a Republican congressional majority established Newt a a leader of the conservative movement as well. Years later, he continues to articulate critical ideas for conservatives.
10. Lessons learned: Since leaving the speakership, Newt has spent time reflecting on things he did right and wrong to figure out the lessons he needed to learn to be better—both politically and personally.
11. Callista, his third wife: She keeps him grounded, shows that he's settled very well into marriage. The press has dubbed her his "secret weapon" in building the advocacy groups known as "Newt Inc."
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Corrected on 5/11/11: The headline and text of this blog post have been corrected from an earlier version.