The GOP took in a reported $14.5 million at its fundraiser last night featuring Newt Gingrich as a keynote speaker--not as much as in previous years, as the Associated Press notes, but a good chunk of change for the party's congressional and senatorial campaign committees. There's a flip side to this, one that often accompanies fundraising: criticism of who's raising it. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee jumped to criticize Gingrich's comment, made during his speech at the event, that President Obama's economic policies have "already failed," sending a press release to districts of target Republican congressmen highlighting the quote.
Democrats are hoping Gingrich might be the next Rush Limbaugh--a polarizing figure they can hang around the necks of other Republicans. Is it worth it for the GOP to have him speak if he brings in $14.5 million and generates some criticism? Sure, I think it is. But it's a reminder that Democrats will find negative comments about Obama and place them in the frame of "Republicans don't have solutions, just criticism and opposition."
Gingrich isn't as polarizing as Limbaugh, but, even as he sounded a tent-broadening note with a nod to Colin Powell last night ("I am happy that Dick Cheney is a Republican...I am also happy that Colin Powell is a Republican"), Democrats are on the lookout to prove he has no new ideas, just harsh criticism--they have been since he tweeted that Sonia Sotomayor is a "racist"--and it may take a concerted messaging effort on Gingrich's part, and on the GOP's, to rebuff that push from their opponents.