published Friday, February 24th, 2012

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich botches name of Chattanooga landmark


by Chris Carroll
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Newt Gingrich’s Fundraising Invitation
Newt Gingrich’s Fundraising Invitation

Chattawhat?

Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign confirmed a Tuesday morning fundraiser at an iconic Scenic City spot.

One problem.

"Chattahoochee Choo Choo Hotel," said a copy of an invitation obtained Thursday by the Times Free Press. "Crystal Room ... $1,000 per person."

Susan Meyers, southeast communications director for Gingrich, clarified the Republican presidential candidate's position on the city's world-famous venue.

"The Chattanooga Choo Choo is one of Newt Gingrich's favorite spots in the South, and especially in Tennessee," she said.

The invitation-only Choo Choo "VIP Roundtable" for the former House speaker begins Tuesday at 8 a.m., according to the invitation, which encourages supporters to give up to $2,500.

Ashley Fischer, a Gingrich finance aide, said she'll start sending invitations to supporters today.

"We just now added this to our fundraiser list," she said. "I'm not sure who's on the list."

Gingrich is scheduled to speak in Dalton, Ga., two hours after the fundraiser here.

He'll visit Chattanooga three days after fellow GOP hopeful Rick Santorum headlines a free-of-charge Chattanooga Tea Party event in Hixson.

Aides said Gingrich hopes to host a public rally in Chattanooga, but nothing is scheduled yet.

Polls show Gingrich with a slight lead in Georgia, but he's behind Santorum and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Tennessee.

According to The New York Times, Gingrich is losing the overall money race to Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, but his allies have kept his campaign alive with an influx of "super PAC" donations.

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