Newt Donors Head for the Hills His criticism of Paul Ryan spooks the base By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted May 19, 2011 11:37 AM CDT 39 comments Comments Former House Speaker and current GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks during an appearance at the Kiwanis Club luncheon, May 16, 2010 in Dubuque, Iowa. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Newt Gingrich’s vaunted money machine appears to be breaking down in the wake of his Meet the Press appearance, in which he called Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan “right-wing social engineering.” (You can see the video here.) “The last 48 hours have called into question if Newt can even make it to July 4, because his fundraising is going to dry up,” one GOP strategist tells the Huffington Post. “No serious finance bundler is now going to step forward.” Another Republican operative said he’d spoken to a Gingrich friend who’d been planning a fundraiser with 18 co-chairs. “He said like 13 of them dropped off within 24 hours of Meet the Press,” the operative said. Gingrich wasn’t helped by a report that he once owed Tiffany’s up to $500,000, an Iowa Republican calling him out, or even glitter. “Clearly if somebody was on the fence about whether they wanted to donate … the last four days they would have said, ‘Maybe I’ll just hold on,’” an ex-Gingrich adviser says.