Newt’s Long Goodbye

Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) and his wife Callista greet wellwishers after Gingrich addressed the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee February 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Does it feel like Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign has more endings than The Return of the King? Trust your heart on this one – Gingrich is dragging like few candidates have ever dragged.

April 24: Gingrich gets blown out in five primaries and announces that he’ll reassess his campaign.

April 25: Gingrich’s spokesman R.C. Hammond confirms to reporters that the candidate will be “laying out plans now how as a citizen he can best help stop [an] Obama second term.” The speculative date: Tuesday, May 1.

April 26: The few remaining embeds on the Gingrich beat keep asking about his plans – he tells them that the campaign will “go bye-bye.”

April 28: Gingrich and his wife Callista attend the White House Correspondents Association dinner, fielding the occasional friendly question about the drop-out schedule; the president jokes that Gingrich is his “likely opponent,” and cameras catch the still-not-former candidate smiling.

April 29: CNN confirms that Gingrich will drop out on May 2, not May 1.

May 1: Gingrich releases a video which informs supporters that he’ll drop out the next day.

May 2: Gingrich schedules a 3 p.m. press conference in northern Virginia, to wrap this up officially.

What’s he gotten for his trouble? Isn’t it obvious? Mark Liebovich flew down to treat New York Times readers to a Gingrich obit. If Wednesday’s a slow time for news, Gingrich gets another cycle to talk about himself. Instead of the unexpected ramble that Rick Santorum delivered last month, Gingrich has time to deliver the sort of speech he couldn’t give in 1998 – a valedictory on his career, his greatness.

Also, he got to visit more zoos.