Schieffer: Gingrich is done

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on 'Face the Nation,' Sunday, May 22, 2011.

The already-struggling Newt Gingrich presidential campaign suffered a major blow Thursday, when state and national-level staffers quit en masse.

CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer discussed the situation with anchor Scott Pelley on Thursday's CBS Evening News.

Schieffer: Well, Scott, the political insiders, they said this was no surprise. When Newt Gingrich launched his campaign on "Meet the Press" by attacking the Republican plan to replace Medicare with government subsidized insurance, Republicans from one end of his party to the other pilloried him. The next Sunday on "Face the Nation," I asked him about the bill he ran up at Tiffany's.

Schieffer, in "Face the Nation" clip: It's very odd to me that someone would run up a half million dollars bill at a jewelry store.

Gingrich" Well, go talk to Tiffany's. All I'm telling you is we are very frugal.

Schieffer: That earned him the honor of being butt of late-night comedy. Letterman showed him wearing a diamond tiara and Conan O'Brien showed him in gold chains and a crown. Politicians can survive a lot, Scott, but ridicule the hardest thing of all to overcome.

His fundraising began to dry up and when he took off on a cruise to Greece a couple of weeks ago. That was final straw for some of the staff.

It is also a signal, I think, that Texas Gov. Rick Perry may be seriously considering getting into the race. Here's why. Two of the people who resigned today have close ties to Perry and insiders have been saying now if those guys ever leave Gingrich, then Perry is very serious about running. I think we should emphasize here that Gingrich himself said today he is not quitting. The way he told it today, he'll be restarting his campaign Sunday.

Pelley: But, Bob, practically speaking, does this mean Gingrich is through?

Schieffer: Well, I think so. I mean -- but if he's not I think he better get another ladder because this hole that he was already in just got a whole lot deeper today. I think he's done.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.