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Gingrich's Shaky Infrastructure Shows Cracks

By Scott Conroy - December 15, 2011

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With the final debate before the Jan. 3 caucuses slated for Thursday night in Sioux City, the rest of the Republican field is almost certain to use the forum to take shots at Gingrich in front of a large audience.

Meanwhile, a pro-Romney super PAC -- Restore Our Future -- is in the midst of a massive Iowa TV advertising blitz that warns Republican caucus-goers of Gingrich’s “baggage.”

The anti-Gingrich ad has been airing frequently in the Des Moines media market and appears to be having some effect -- in conjunction with additional negative ads being aired by Ron Paul’s campaign -- as Gingrich’s support has declined somewhat, according to recent polls.

Though his campaign has no official control over outside groups acting on his behalf, Gingrich is also playing catch-up in the all-important realm of super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from wealthy donors.

On Tuesday, a pro-Gingrich super PAC called Winning Our Future announced its formation. Another supportive super PAC, Solutions 2012, has been operating since last month but has not yet aired any TV ads.

Winning Our Future, which is being helmed by longtime Gingrich fundraiser Becky Burkett, appears to be the outside group that enjoys the unofficial blessing of Gingrich’s inner circle.

Burkett told RCP that she has spoken recently with former Gingrich spokesperson Rick Tyler, and a second source close to Gingrich confirms that Tyler is moving toward joining the super PAC.

After Thursday night’s debate, Gingrich will take a 2 ½ day swing through Iowa next week but will not return to the state until Dec. 27, when he plans to spend the final week before the caucuses on a statewide bus tour.

Gingrich’s decision not to spend more time in the Hawkeye State over the next two weeks is all the more risky considering his lack of an established turnout operation there.

But the insurgent candidate, who has already risen once from the politically dead, appears to be counting on the premise that what has worked for him so far will continue to pay dividends. 

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Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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