Dave Wiegel, at Slate, has been following Newt Gingrich around Florida this weekend:
LUTZ, Fla. — Newt Gingrich began his day in one the front pews of the Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church, one of the largest non-airport faciilites I’ve ever seen a Starbucks inside of. The speaker, Callista, and his top Florida surrogate Bill McCollum sat, stood, and sang along for a service tied to Sanctity of Life Day…
Gingrich wrapped up and found a good place for a receiving line, right in front of the crowded Starbucks. The chatter from the crowd: Respectful of Gingrich, very forgiving of his “moral values.”
“I heard Dick Morris say that Republican women don’t like Callista,” scowled Mary Gaulden, who’d hand-made Newt buttons and affixed them to her shirt. “That’s nonsense. I’ve met Callista, and I can tell you she would bring to the White House a kindred spirit to Jacqueline Kennedy.” The speaker and his wife were saved, and penitent, and that was that…
Jacqueline Kennedy? Ah-HAH!
But the real Red(State) meat was distributed later in the afternoon:
… Newt Gingrich was in The Villages. If you needed to design a last redoubt of the Tea Party voter, a place to collect the older, whiter conservatives who make up the movement, you could do no better than a planned community of at least 75,000 people, with a central census-designated zone of around 8,000, where people under 19 can only stay with permission for 30 days. Gingrich pulled more than 1500 people over to the Sumter Park section of the complex. Parking began outside of a Barnes and Noble. It spilled across the street, with souped-up golf carts sharing space with SUVs, fighting for small patches of grass. Representatives of the Tri-County Tea Party passed out brochures, advertising meetings of 2000 people, showing the markings that previous conservative ambassadors had put on them.
Gingrich, taking a stage with his wife beside him, spoke for 27 minutes. The text was a splice-up of Tea Party talk and attacks on Mitt Romney — different flavors of the same soup…
Gingrich needed the audience’s help, because the Republican establishment was afraid of him, and (implictly) doing damage… “The truth is we have been served badly, the American people, by the establishment of this country in both parties. Let’s be clear about it. In both parties! It’s time someone stood up for hard-working, tax-paying Americans and said, enough! And if that makes the old order uncomfortable, my answer is: Good.”
Name-brand third-party candidate available, for the right price. Although I sure don’t see the ‘sensible centrists’ at American Select accepting The Newt as their spokesmodel.
“I’m delighted that tomorrow Michael Reagan will be campaigning with me,” said Gingrich, “which should tell you how false the ads were earlier this week by Romney, to suggest that I wasn’t a Reagan Republican. Nancy Reagan said in 1995, ‘Just as Barry passed the torch to Ronnie, Ronnie passed the torch to Newt.’ And Michael will be here to prove tomorrow, to every doubting person, I am in fact the legitimate heir of the Reagan movement. Not some liberal from Massachusetts!”
Up to now, Gingrich had been calling Romney a “Massachusetts moderate.” The “liberal” tag was new; it was exactly what the Tea Party was longing for.
Rejected-by-his-own-party Ex-Speaker Gingrich: Zombie Reagan’s Heir! In Revenge of the Golfcart Snowbirds, coming to the Hell’s Octoplex this August…