After a series of head-fakes and stutter steps, Newt Gingrich finally jumped in the GOP presidential race Wednesday, announcing his candidacy on Twitter and previewing his platform in a YouTube video set to soothing elevator music. The rollout wasn’t perfect: Gingrich’s website, Newt.org, still featured empty space earmarked for quotes from the candidate’s announcement, and his “Win the Future” slogan jarred some people, even if Gingrich coined it first. But the former House Speaker’s foray into the thin field drew much fanfare, capped with an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.
On Day Two? Nada.
While Rick Santorum huddles with New Hampshire Republicans, Herman Cain stumps in Wisconsin and Mitt Romney defends his health care record in Michigan, Gingrich has no public events scheduled Thursday. It’s a notable start for a candidate who some observers believe lacks the discipline to weather the grueling ordeal of a presidential campaign. A Gingrich spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the former House Speaker’s Thursday plans. Gingrich will speak to Georgia Republicans on Friday. Over the weekend he’ll deliver the commencement address at Eureka College in Illinois, Ronald Reagan’s alma mater, before heading to Iowa next week.
Speaking to Hannity, Gingrich displayed glimmers of both the rhetorical gifts that propelled him to power in the House and the red-meat talking points (ban White House czars!) he often employs on the stump. Hannity, meanwhile, gave fodder to skeptics who consider Gingrich a relic of the ’90s by noting that the last time the Georgian held political office, Seinfeld was the top-rated TV show, the Spice Girls were still pop stars and pagers, not iPhones, were all the rage. Discipline is one question looming over Gingrich’s candidacy; another is whether the U.S. wants a blast from the past to lead it into an uncertain future.