It has only been a week since presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy among a field of unnoticed opponents, but his first steps into the political arena have been marked by several major stumbles.
Gingrich has already had to do a major flip-flop when it comes to the issue of healthcare. Last week, he lambasted House Representative Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare as "social engineering," and said that he wouldn't support it. The comments earned him an irritated editorial in The Wall Street Journal, and critiques from figures such as South Carolina governor Nikki Haley to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
This week, Gingrich has decided to start backpedaling.
"I made a mistake," he said Tuesday night in an interview with Fox News, USA Today reports. "I support what he's trying to do in the budget."
His case wasn't helped by an 18-year-old video clip that showed that he supports personal mandates for healthcare reform, which is very similar to the health care law signed by President Obama in 2010.
Politico recently reported that Gingrich also held up to $500,000 in debt to jewelry store Tiffany's during 2005 and 2006. The findings have prompted some to question whether this kind of fiscal spending is really what conservatives want, while others dismiss it as immaterial to the elections.
MSNBC claims that Gingrich "sets the bar for a disastrous presidential roll-out" due to his early stage gaffes. Many conservatives are currently criticizing his choice to even enter into the running.
So far, Mitt Romney appears to be the favorite among many Republicans, garnering 20 percent popularity among the voters polled by Gallup from March to April 2011. Palin scored 18 percent and Gingrich came last, at 11 percent.