Orlando, Fla - Minutes after FOX News projected that Mitt Romney would win Florida, Newt Gingrich’s final Florida event went from being a victory party to, well, not quite a wake. Wakes for famous people are generally well attended, and the crowd at Newt’s party is sparse and mostly media. Wakes are also generally somber, yet as I type, a DJ is spinning “Play That Funky Music White Boy.” There are two cash bars, but the bartenders are twiddling their thumbs.
Gingrich talked a big game in Florida well into the 11th hour, despite the release of several polls over the last week showing him to be trailing Romney by an increasingly wide margin. He criss-crossed the state by plane and bus, packing so many events into each day that he frequently showed up late. True to form, he’s already one minute late for whatever speech he plans to give tonight: a campaign staffer told reporters earlier that Gingrich would address the assembled at 8:15; it’s now 8:17 p.m..
After the DJ kills Wild Cherry, he unleashes “Love Shack,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and Wang Chung’s "Everybody Have Fun Tonight." Soundtrack to the contrary, it appears that whatever fun happens tonight will likely be had by Gingrich reporters who get to head home tomorrow and kiss their spouses/babies/cats.
On a large screen TV, FOX is carrying the footage of Mitt Romney’s victory speech, while at Newt’s own party, there’s still no sign of Newt. (According to Politico’s Ginger Gibson, on scene here, a number of the people in attendance tonight are in town for a hardware convention and decided to check out the DJ.)
At 8:34 p.m., the bleachers in front of which Newt will speak begin to fill up to the sound of the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling (Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night).” The crowd unleashes an occasional cheer, though the effect is more bachelorette-party-at-Chili’s than presidential-candidate-rallying-the-troops, mostly because there is no presidential candidate, and no troops.
I'll update when/if Gingrich arrives.