Members of Newt Gingrich’s campaign accused Mitt Romney’s campaign of packing the audience for the Republican presidential candidate debate on Thursday night in Jacksonville, Fla., with its own supporters to ensure that the dynamics would be favorable to Romney.
“They definitely packed the room,” Kevin Kellems, one of Gingrich’s senior advisers, told The Huffington Post early Friday morning. “The problem for them is their candidate, at several junctures, couldn’t remember what he had said before on an issue or what the fundamental truth is on a given topic. TV viewers tend to notice and remember things like that.”
A more junior member of the Gingrich campaign said in an email that it was “obvious” that the Romney campaign had worked to make sure the audience was overly favorable toward the former Massachusetts governor.
I don’t know whether Romney’s team did this or not, nor do I care one way or the other. It was evident in several early debates that Ron Paul’s folks had packed the hall, or at least that seemed to be the case judging by the levels of applause he received for saying things that tend not to fly in the GOP. As campaign tactics go, packing the hall is mild stuff. Watching the debate on TV, the loudest applause actually went to Santorum when he lashed out at both Gingrich and Romney for launching petty attacks at each other. Ron Paul’s comedy act got several strong responses. Seriously, he should think about becoming a correspondent on The Daily Show once the primary is overwith. I hate most of his policies but he has great comedic timing.
Gingrich’s team is starting to look like a passel of whiners, complaining about whether another candidate packed the room or not. They should focus more on prepping their man better for debates. Gingrich walked into a buzzsaw when he attacked Romney for having investments in Freddie and Fannie, when Gingrich has similar investments of his own. The whole question is irrelevant given the fact that the investments are mutual funds and in Romney’s case they’re part of a blind trust, but if you’re going to launch an attack it’s best to know if you have a vulnerability in the same area.
Newt Gingrich in particular should have learned that from his own experiences with Bill Clinton’s impeachment.