The HillTube

GOP establishment ‘scared to death’ of Gingrich, says campaign adviser

Speaking Monday on MSNBC, senior campaign adviser Kellyanne Conway argued that a candidate for president needs to know how Washington works in order to get things done.

“I have to say this whole Washington insider-outsider bifurcation is very interesting to me, because the job of president is actually in Washington, D.C.,” Conway said. “So there’s an argument to be made that you actually need some Washington experience — you can’t just parachute in there. We have that currently in the White House, and we’ve had three straight years of amateur hour.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Gingrich has had to fight the perception that he’s a creature of Washington who has profited financially from his time as House Speaker. Gingrich received at least $1.6 million from Freddie Mac, for which he says he acted as a “historian,” although his rivals allege that he lobbied on behalf of the mortgage giant.

However, Conway also argued that despite his time in Washington, Gingrich is actually an outsider, with interests more aligned with those of working Americans.

She pointed to the myriad endorsements Romney has received from the top levels of the GOP as evidence that the conservative establishment is “scared to death” of a Gingrich nomination.

“I think he’s an outsider, because if you look at all the king’s horses and all the king’s men lining up to support Mitt Romney, they’re basically lobbyists,” Conway said. “[Gingrich] has inside knowledge, but he’s an outsider to the system. They’re all trying to stop him. The establishment is way against him, they’re scared to death of him because they don’t quite know what to do with him. But Mitt Romney has all of the insiders.”

Romney has the support of 72 current congressional lawmakers, while only nine have come out to endorse Gingrich. Romney also has the support of a number of high-profile sitting Republican governors, as well as the bulk of conservative media outlets.

Gingrich has battled the perception that he’s a Washington insider by striking a populist tone on the campaign trail, and lately it’s worked.

His fiery attacks against the media, most notably in a debate last week in which he excoriated the moderator for asking about his past infidelities, has resonated with primary voters and buoyed him in the polls.

Gingrich won the primary in conservative South Carolina by 14 points, after trailing Romney by double digits only two weeks before.