WILMINGTON, Del. (CBSDC/AP) — Show me the money?
In dire need of campaign cash, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is now charging $50 if someone wants to have their picture taken with him at a campaign event, CBS News reports.
The campaign began charging supporters for pictures during an event in Hockessin, Del. At the end of last month, Gingrich’s campaign posted more debt than cash raised, according to CBS News.
Gingrich’s visit to Delaware included talks with state GOP leaders, an afternoon appearance at a $100-per-person fundraiser for the Delaware Republican Party, and an evening speech at a joint meeting of the northern New Castle County and western New Castle County Republican committees.
Gingrich said Monday that Delaware’s small size could provide him the opportunity to pick up the state’s 17 winner-take-all delegates on April 24 and shake up the GOP presidential primary race.
“I think Delaware is a great opportunity for us because it is the size state where a candidate with limited money can really make an impact by personal contact,” Gingrich told reporters during the first visit to Delaware by a contender in this year’s GOP presidential race. “I think that winning Delaware would be part of resetting the whole race.”
While the current delegate math favors front-runner Mitt Romney, Gingrich said he has a shot at winning the nomination if Romney still is short of the required number of delegates after the final GOP primary on June 26 in Utah.
“If we get to June 26 and he doesn’t have 1,144 delegates, you’re going to see the most wide-open fascinating electronic convention for 60 days as the country asks the question ‘Who can beat Barack Obama?’” Gingrich said.
“If Romney doesn’t’ get a majority, it’s chaos,” he added. “In 60 days of talking about who can best beat Barack Obama, I think I have a very realistic chance.”
Gingrich has vowed to fight on to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The former speaker has so far won in only two southern states, South Carolina and Georgia.
Gingrich also took the opportunity Monday to blast comments made by President Obama during a visit to South Korea, in which Obama told Russia’s outgoing president that Obama would have more flexibility after the November election to deal with the issue of missile defense. The conversation between Obama and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev was picked up by a microphone without the apparent knowledge of either leader.
“To say that to a Russian president, in effect suggesting that the president is going to abandon our missile defense system, has to have a chilling effect on the Israelis,” Gingrich said. He added that it raises the question of what Obama is telling other world leaders about a second term.
“It’s one of the mostly remarkably cynical comments that I’ve seen in a long period of looking at politics,” Gingrich said.
While many members of the state GOP establishment have endorsed Romney, party chairman John Sigler is remaining neutral until after the April 24 primary.
“I will endorse on April 25 after Delaware Republican voters have made their choice known,” Sigler said. “Whoever wins, I will endorse.”
Sigler said he expects that Gingrich will find more GOP support in central and southern Delaware, where voters tend to be more conservative, than in northern Delaware, but that it’s too soon to say how the race will shake out.
“We do know from history that if you want to win in Delaware, you have to come to Delaware,” Sigler said. “The speaker knows Delaware and he understands that the only way you win among Delaware Republicans is being here. It’s about retail politics. We’re small enough where that means something.”
Sigler said party officials have been told that Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum are looking at dates to visit Delaware, and that Gingrich’s wife, Callista, will be in the state next week.
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