Gingrich looks to revive his campaign with 30-minute ad on energy

Newt Gingrich will air a 30-minute advertisement in the coming weeks touting his energy platform, a move the presidential candidate hopes will revive his struggling campaign.

The ad — titled “$2.50 Per Gallon Gasoline, Energy Independence and Jobs — An Address by Newt Gingrich” — will run in several “key cities” between now and Super Tuesday, Gingrich’s campaign said Wednesday. The campaign will announce the cities in the coming days.

Energy has become a central part of Gingrich’s campaign in recent weeks. The former Speaker has promised to lower gas prices to $2.50 per gallon by increasing energy independence, expanding domestic oil-and-gas drilling and approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, among other things.

Even a dramatic expansion of domestic oil-and-gas production would have little short-term effect on gas prices, according to experts. Gas prices are largely tethered to oil prices, which are set on global markets.

The move is reminiscent of a 30-minute infomercial purchased by the Obama campaign in the waning days of the 2008 presidential race, in which the then-senator bought half-hour segments on all four major broadcast networks.

But unlike Obama's commercial, which blended political speech with moments highlighting everyday voters, Gingrich's commercial is simply Newt being Newt: The former House Speaker, adorned by nothing other than a light blue backdrop, speaks to the camera for 28 minutes without the aid of a teleprompter or notes.

Gingrich said this week that he hopes his focus on energy will inject new life into his campaign.

Asked Tuesday night on Fox News how he can “rise from the ashes,” Gingrich said:

“I think in my case I rise by focusing on an American energy policy, getting back to $2.50-a-gallon gasoline, outlining both the economic and national-security implications, indicating that instead of bowing to a Saudi king we ought to be drilling, and our goal should be to be so independent that we don't care what the Iranians do in the Straits of Hormuz.”

Gingrich spokesman Joe DeSantis said the energy ad is a response to ads by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“The answer to Gov. Romney’s 30-second attack ads filled with garbage is a 30-minute address filled with substance,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Newt’s message about lowering gasoline and other energy prices is resonating and the Obama administration is on defense over their policies hostile to American energy production, which are causing pain at the pump.”

The emphasis on energy also represents an acknowledgement that down-in-the-dirt campaigning against Mitt Romney ultimately backfired, killing the momentum the former Speaker had gained off his South Carolina victory.

"I got tied into $20 million of negative ads by Romney in Florida, and I responded by behaving too much like a normal candidate," Gingrich said on Fox News. "I think twice I've led the race as a front-runner in national polls — both times it's been on big ideas."

Republicans are training their fire on President Obama’s energy policies amid rising gas prices.

The average gallon of gas runs about $3.58, according to AAA. That’s up from this time last month ($3.38 per gallon) and this time last year ($3.17 per gallon).

Obama intends to aggressively counter GOP criticism of his energy policies by emphasizing his efforts to expand domestic oil-and-gas production. The president will deliver an energy speech at the University of Miami on Thursday.