Newt Gingrich’s Cincinnati Campaign Stop from the Outside Looking In

by on March 7th, 2015
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COMMENTARY: From the outside looking in, Newt Gingrich’s campaign stop in Cincinnati looked more like a family reunion than a political rally. Ohio is a swing state with a primary scheduled March 6. Early voting begins today; and with Cincinnati and Hamilton County being traditional Republican must wins, Newt Gingrich was destined to make the city an early campaign stop. It should have been a thrilling turn of events for Queen City Republicans and Tea Party folk, but the excitement was missing.

Cincinnati Chili, a political tradition

Gingrich’s visit was held at the Price Hill Chili facility for a good reason. Visiting a Cincinnati Chili restaurant is a political tradition akin to kissing all the babies in a crowd or shaking everyone’s hand at once. Approximately 200 supporters had already packed the Price Hill Chili venue. By the time Gingrich arrived, the crowd remaining on the sidewalk to greet him numbered no more than 20. About half of that was a mix of police officers, news reporters and Ron Paul supporters.

When Gingrich’s colorful American themed bus pulled into place on Glenway Avenue, there were a few smiles, a few flags waving and a few signs to welcome him. There was a moment of anticipation as the crowd waited for him and his wife, Callista, to exit the bus; but there was no rallying cheer of campaign excitement when they did. Still Gingrich shook a few hands and smiled. He signed an autograph. He pointed and waved at those standing beyond his reach and offered a compliment, “Nice sign,” to a woman standing nearby.Then he entered the restaurant to speak to the waiting crowd.

Ron Paul Supporters rallied outside

From the outside looking in, you could see the packed house and the crowd listening attentively as Gingrich spoke. You couldn’t hear any of that enthusiasm from outside, though. It appeared very calm and quiet inside, but on the sidewalk a few feet away from Price Hill Chili’s front door, a different sort of excitement was developing.

As Newt Gingrich spoke inside, a small group of Ron Paul supporter began to gather outside. They stood quietly. They waved signs and banners for passing cars to see. When Newt Gingrich exited the venue, they chanted, “Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul….” Not to be outdone, a few Gingrich supporters chanted back, “Newt, Newt, Newt….” From the outside looking in, that exchange was the most exciting moment of the morning.

Before Gingrich hit the road for his next stop, he posed for a photo op. He said a few words to his admirers; then he climbed back onto his bus and rode away. The entire morning seemed like a crowd of relatives celebrating the return of an old friend.

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