Former Aide Rich Galen: Gingrich ‘Can Pretend,’ but Campaign Over

ABC News’ Rick Klein ( @rickklein ) reports: While Newt Gingrich promises to soldier on his campaign for the presidency – despite the mass resignation of some 16 top aides – some of his former friends and aides are ready to throw in the towel for him.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Rich Galen, a former top aide to Gingrich when he served as House speaker, said the presidential campaign is essentially over, victimized by the character flaws that many of Gingrich’s critics identified from the start.

“I'm only surprised because in the beginning I said this thing would be over in 45 days, and I was about 10 days short. So, I was more optimistic,” Galen told us.

Asked if that means he thinks the campaign is over, Galen said it’s not possible for Gingrich to re-create the campaign infrastructure he lost yesterday.

“He can pretend,” Galen said. “[But] the notion that Newt can do this, on the fly, in the middle of this thing … who would join the campaign? Again, I don't have any animus towards Newt, but as a professional in this business, who would say, ‘OK, look, maybe, this time, the third re-start will be the right way to do this, and I'll join up because maybe they really do have money hidden around in places that we don't know about.’ ”

Galen said it’s a “completely different deal” than when John McCain lost much of his campaign staff in 2007, since he had experienced staffers ready to step in where Gingrich does not.

“This is the kind of thing that happens when somebody is so unalterably miscast in a roll that they've chosen for themselves,” Galen said. “Newt and his wife, really, I truly believe wanted to be the ultimate arbiters of where they went, when they went, and what they did when they got there. As opposed to letting these, very highly -- we all know these guys -- very highly skilled campaign professionals, who, as I wrote this morning, wanted to run a professional campaign.”

Gingrich’s well-documented campaign missteps were exacerbated by the fact that his wife, Callista, was empowered to make so many critical decisions, Galen said.

“I don't know that Callista was determinative in everybody packing up and moving out at the same moment yesterday, but I do think that it was additive to the problems that the campaign was having in trying to generate some forward momentum,” Galen said. Callista’s role “was just more than the campaign could sustain,” he added.

And Galen said he expects the mass resignation will make it easier for Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pull the trigger on a presidential bid.

“You've got everybody already in place, then that gives Perry a lot more freedom to say, ‘Let me take a look at this let me call some people let me see how much money it’s going to take and I can raise because I know I've got that part figured out. I can just flip the switch and everybody knows what to do.’ ”

Watch the interview with Rich Galen HERE.

Also today, ABC’s Michael Falcone called in from Juneau, Alaska, to talk about the huge cache of e-mails from Sarah Palin’s time as governor that reporters are going through this afternoon.

And we featured a video that ABC News White House cameraman Hank Disselkamp put together to show what goes on behind the scenes at major White House events.

Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.

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