On his last day as a presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich is clutching his torn Achilles and grumbling that you people were such jerks about space.
Gingrich has been competing with a torn Achilles tendon since August, The National Review's Robert Costa reports, but he didn't get surgery because he didn't want to take time off from campaigning. Gingrich's senior adviser, Joe DeSantis, told Costa, "He’ll walk miles. He’s been walking around with this torn tendon. It probably needs surgery, and he’s just walking around with it. Why? Because he won’t take time off. And he still carries his own bags. He won’t let other people help him." But Newt's surprising physical toughness does not appear to be matched by a mental toughness. The soon-to-be-ex-candidate told USA Today he's still mad that people made fun of him when he proposed a moon colony.
Gingrich will officially drop out of the Republican presidential primary with a speech in Virginia Wednesday. In his exit interview with USA Today's Susan Page, Gingrich said he was was surprised by the "irresponsible and cynical reaction to my proposals for space" from "elites." He pointed to Americans' excitement when the space shuttle was retired and took a goodbye lap over Washington, D.C. and New York in April. Reporters tweeted tons of photos of the shuttled going by, and Gingrich's spokesman R.C. Hammond responded, "Thousands in DC flee offices to spot shuttle overflight, yet a moon colony is a silly idea. #justsayin." We thought it was mostly a joke, but it turns out it was mostly serious. At least, it was for Gingrich.
Gingrich has a few other remaining complaints. DeSantis told The National Review that the national media never picked up on how important the idea of citizenship is to Gingrich, and that he saw himself as a citizen candidate up against the well-financed Mitt Romney machine. What initially sounds like humility -- "I have regrets about not being smarter about how to run," Gingrich told Page -- devolves into another round of blaming staff. Gingrich says he was dumb to rely on the bad advice of consultants who urged him not to be "bolder," "more outside the mainstream."
As for the man he'll eventually endorse, Mitt Romney, Page reports Gingrich has only the faintest praise:
"Mitt Romney met the first criteria of being a good candidate: He won... We sure didn't give it to him. We did everything we could to slug it out with him, and he ended up being tough enough and being good enough at raising money..."
Gingrich might still be angry about the elites, but the feeling isn't mutual. You sense a real fondness in the many goodbye tributes to Gingrich posted Wednesday. Here's ABC News' Jonathan Karl's:
And here's one from President Obama's reelection campaign: