Defiant Gingrich vows to campaign ‘very intensely’

C.J. Ciaramella Contributor
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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said this morning he would continue to campaign “very intensely,” despite a mass exodus of his key campaign staffers yesterday.

Standing before a group of reporters outside of his McLean, Virginia home, Gingrich vowed to press on. He is scheduled to renew campaigning in Los Angeles on Sunday, and he will participate in the Republican candidate debate in New Hampshire on Monday.

“I’m prepared to go out and to campaign very intensely,” Gingrich said, “but I want a campaign on ideas and on solutions and I want to do it in a way that brings Americans together into a large movement.”

Yesterday Gingrich press spokesman Rick Tyler, campaign manager Rob Johnson and Dave Carney, Gingrich’s top New Hampshire aide, all resigned, as did his entire paid staff in Iowa. One of Gingrich’s national campaign co-chairs, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, also announced yesterday that he was joining Tim Pawlenty’s campaign.

(Gingrich far from cruising toward nomination as top crew jumps ship)

For the first time since the mass resignation, Gingrich acknowledged the rift that had developed between him and his staffers.

“We had a strategic disagreement about how to run a campaign,” Gingrich said. “There have been very few campaigns that have been solutions oriented and that are oriented to every single American.”

“There is a fundamental strategic difference between the traditional consulting community and the kind of campaign I want to run,” Gingrich continued. “Now we’ll find over the next year who’s right.”

Gingrich also addressed the role of his wife in his campaign. Gingrich drew criticism early on after it was revealed that he and his wife had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Tiffany & Co. jewelers. And the couple’s decision to leave the campaign trail and take a two-week Mediterranean vacation was reportedly a source of tension between Gingrich and his staff.

“We make decisions as a couple,” Gingrich said. “I think most couples would find that refreshing, not a problem and I think that what we’ve been trying to do is carry messages to the American people and listen to the American people and you’ll see us over the next few weeks doing it in new and dynamic and much more open ways than the traditional consultants are comfortable with.”

Gingrich said he was running because of the state of the economy.

“I am a candidate for president of the United States because I think we are in the early stages of the Obama depression,” Gingrich said.