The Debate

After Gingrich, Cook

Just days after a painful defeat for Newt Gingrich in Louisiana, a leading analyst gives his take on the race.

I wrote Friday about a “town hall” meeting held by Newt Gingrich that I attended at Tulane University in New Orleans. Gingrich was dealt a major blow the following day, coming in third in a state that he’d spent much of the previous week campaigning in.

Louisiana should be friendly territory for the former House Speaker, and his failure to pick up any delegates so far (the delegate allocation system is a little complicated in Louisiana) has intensified the expectation that he’ll be forced to abandon his bid. Certainly in response Gingrich is trying what must surely be the last throw of the dice in undertaking a major shake-up of his campaign staff, including reportedly laying off about a third of his organization, mostly junior and advance staff.

“The new Gingrich world order is largely a strategy of necessity: Gingrich places a distant third in delegates, behind Romney and Rick Santorum,” Politico reported today. “His campaign finance report for February, released last week, showed more debt ($1.55 million) than cash-on-hand ($1.54 million). That situation is unlikely to improve given Gingrich has captured no momentum in the polls.”

Regardless, Washington comes to New Orleans again today, with Charlie Cook, one of America’s most-respected election analysts, talking today at Loyola University. I’ll be chatting to Cook afterward and will share any insights he has on what to expect in the presidential race in November.