Jon Ward reports:
WASHINGTON -- Newt Gingrich's catastrophic first week as an official Republican primary candidate may knock him out of the race before it even gets started. And if he stays in, fundraising will now be much more difficult, and that could hasten his exit, Republican sources said.
The former House Speaker from Georgia's once biggest advantage over other long shot candidates -- an established fundraising network -- is withering before his eyes.
"The last 48 hours have called into question if Newt can even make it to July 4, because his fundraising is going to dry up," said one veteran Republican strategist. "No serious finance bundler is now going to step forward in such an organized campaign and take a leadership role."
Another Republican operative said he had spoken with an old friend of Gingrich's in the South who had been planning a fundraiser for the campaign. There were 18 co-chairs for the event until Gingrich's appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday, where he labeled Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) proposed budget "radical" and "right-wing social engineering."
"He said like 13 of them dropped off within 24 hours of 'Meet the Press,'" the GOP source told The Huffington Post.
John Podhoretz argued yesterday that "Gingrich is not a positive but rather a destructive force in the GOP presidential primary," and he has a point; it would be nice if Gingrich took the advice of the Iowan who told him Monday to "get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself." But I suspect his ego may keep him on the campaign trail even if the money dries up.
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