(CBS News) After bowing out from the Republican presidential race Wednesday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is no worse off than he was before he ran for president, says CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, will likely have to deal with some of Gingrich's less-than-complimentary "sound bites" about him for the remainder of the campaign.
"Gingrich knew from the very beginning that this was a long shot, but he also knew what a lot of other Republicans know, that there are many, many Republicans on the right side of the party who simply don't like Mitt Romney, who don't believe that he is one of them, a true conservative," Schieffer told Charlie Rose Thursday on "CBS This Morning."
So basically, all Newt did was drink beer, take bus rides and give performances. Just living out the rock star dream, I suppose.
Oh. And throwing bombs. Never forget the bombs. The question becomes: what kind of damage has he inflicted on the Romney campaign?
I mean, it's not as though had Newt played nice all primary season long, Mitt would have jumped out to an imposing lead over Obama, and certainly there's plenty of time between now and the election for Obama to jump way ahead of Mitt and annoint his second term.
Newt, however, certainly put a damper on any reasonable attacks Romney might have attempted:
He (ed. note: Gingrich) [...] mercilessly condemned Romney as a man who “can’t be honest,” who “looted a company” and who “doesn’t seem capable of inspiring positive turnout.”
Calling the guy you're about to throw your considerable weight behind a boring, thieving liar is going to leave a lot of raw material for the Obama campaign to construct commercials around.
And you have to know that the Obama camp is dying to pick a fight with the right wing, particularly the uberconservatives, because of their dilletantist demeanor in his first term. He won't want to just beat them, he'll want to stomp a mudhole in them and then do a Mexican Hat Dance around the hole. Using Newt as their conduit will merely serve to make it that much sweeter, despite the fact that Newt all but agreed with the President on the Ryan tax plan.
Still, it was fun to have Gingrich to kick around: Callista's whore diamonds, bouncing checks, the revelation that any hotel room he stays in must have access to two bathrooms, no brown M&Ms in the candy dish...ok, I made that one up, still you get the point.
His withdrawal from the race and Schieffer's revelation that he was half-hearted to begin with, cast a whole new light on Gingrich's candidacy. It points out a positive and a negative.
The positive, of course, is that he was at least realistic that he was tilting at windmills and behaved accordingly. The negative is he disrespected the American (and particularly, Republican) electorate and mocked them with his very presence in the race and his lack of seriousness and discipline in committing to the office.
In a sense, he pre-ordained his failure by ordaining his levity.