Skip to comments.Newt Gingrich Exudes New Confidence as He Storms South Carolina
Posted on 01/18/2012 11:07:09 AM PST by Red Steel
Gingrich is surging in the polls and brimming with confidence after receiving a strong boost from his performance in the Fox News debate. But can he catch up with Mitt Romney?
Newt Gingrich is on a roll. After finishing fourth in Iowa and sharing the fourth-place spot with Rick Santorum in New Hampshire, Gingrich has hit the reset button in South Carolina, where he is now surging in the polls, getting rave reviews for his latest debate performance and visibly brimming with confidence as he storms across the state.
The latest polls in South Carolina show a vastly different playing field for Gingrich than the earlier contests. Four recent polls show him placing second to Romney, by a 5- to 11-point margin, in the state where people still affectionately refer to him as "Mr. Speaker."
"What went on in Iowa was one thing. What went on in New Hampshire is another," said Rep. Bill Hixon, who represents Aiken, S.C., in the state House. Hixon has endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but he sounded like a Newt man Tuesday after Gingrich spoke to a packed house in Aiken. "You're going to see the true presidential candidate come out of South Carolina, and right now I see Gingrich passing Romney."
If Gingrich does revive his chances for the nomination here, it is clear he will have Juan Williams to thank for it. Williams is the Fox News personality who pressed Gingrich at Monday's GOP debate Monday night about his earlier suggestion that kids in poor neighborhoods take jobs as school janitors to learn about work ethics and to make ends meet. But instead of apologizing for the concept, which Democrats blasted as racist, Gingrich doubled down on it as inherently American and something only a liberal elitist would despise.
The resulta thunderous (standing) ovation from the conservative audience in Myrtle Beach and, much more important, a second look from voters in the Palmetto State who will go to the polls on Saturday for the GOP presidential primary.
Hixon pinpointed Monday night's debate as the moment Gingrich's campaign turned around, and he was not the only one to say so. At an event in Columbia, S.C., earlier in the day, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee also singled out Gingrich's performance. Last night in the debate, I dont know that Ive ever, ever heard a more masterful presentation of the power of work and labor than was given by speaker Newt Gingrich, Huckabee said.
By the time Gingrich got to the farmers market in West Columbia in the afternoon, a pattern had emerged.
Do you want a real conservative to go against a real radical so that when its done youre still for paychecks and hes still for food stamps?
"How about that debate last night? That was amazing," said Rich Bolen, the chairman of the Lexington County (S.C.) Republican Party.
James Metts, the sheriff in Lexington County, said he had been undecided about Saturday's election, until the Fox News debate. "After last night and the performance that the speaker gave ... there is absolutely no doubt who can turn this country around and can lead us back to the great country that we are," Metts said.
What was it about that moment that moved those Republicans to get behind Gingrich? In a word, they say, it was backbone. Whether they agreed or disagreed with Gingrich on the wisdom or need for kids to roll up their sleeves in the janitor's closet (most agreed by the way), they all praised the way Gingrich not only came up with an idea but defended it.
Unlike Mitt Romney, who spent the better part of the debate explaining how and why he had evolved on some issues or just been misunderstood on others, Gingrich gave a full-throated defense for his own point of view. No blinking, no stammering, no stuttering.
"He was the smartest man in the room the other night," said Eddie Nobels, who walked away from meeting Gingrich in Aiken with a signed baseball. "That's what we need. We don't need an Obama."
Gingrich's campaign is so convinced that more voters will feel the same way that they released an ad Tuesday night, simply called "The Moment," with clips of Gingrich's answer to Williams, and the standing ovation that followed.
But the campaign is also well aware that Gingrich is going to need a movement, not just a moment, to get in front of Mitt Romney as he plows toward the Republican nomination, powered not by Republicans' love for the man, but by their sheer belief that he can beat Obama.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday showed that a full 72 percent of Republicans believe Romney will be their nominee in 2012, while just 7 percent of Republicans think Gingrich will be the eventual winner. That same poll shows Romney narrowly beating Obama in a head-to-head matchup, while Gingrich would lose 37 percent to 53 percent.
Gingrich took the electability question head-on Tuesday, trying any way possible to convince Republicans that Romney, a "timid Massachusetts moderate" would be the weakest candidate in November, not the strongest.
"If you look at the 15 debates we've had, ask yourself, Do you want a Massachusetts moderate, or do you want a real conservative to go against a real radical so that when it's done, you're still for paychecks and he's still for food stamps? And people get it."
Gingrich's job of beating Romney would be infinitely easier if three other menRick Perry, Ron Paul, Rick Santorumweren't also trying to do the same. Gingrich stated plainly Tuesday that Romney would not be winning if conservatives were not splitting their votes among the four men, but he said he had no plans to drop out of the race to clear the field.
In an interview with Laura Ingraham on her radio show, Gingrich was asked why he doesn't just ask Santorum to leave the race. The former Pennsylvania senator has rebuffed the idea, pointing out that he performed significantly better than Gingrich or Perry in Iowa, and tied Gingrich in New Hampshire. If anyone should drop out, Santorum says, it's not him.
We certainly can communicate, and we do communicate with each other," Gingrich said of Santorum. "But its pretty hard to ask a guy to give up his ambitions.
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Patricia Murphy is a writer in Washington, D.C., where she covers Congress and politics.
Internals must be looking real good for these type of stories to start filtering out.
This of course is the elephant in the room. Gingrich can't beat Obama. Hell, as of yet he can't even beat Romney in a Republican primary...that is very worrisome.
Gingrich is my last hope to not have to hold my nose to vote, ala McCain.
Final tally will be something like:
Ron Paul 19
Rick Santorum 15
Newt has a harder road to climb, but Newt is far better at winning over the unconvinced than Romney is.
Therefore in the general election, he has a better shot than polls suggest.
On the flip side he also has a greater propensity to shove both feet in his mouth.
Newt just blasted Obama on the pipeline decision.
Yay! Go Newt!
“. Hixon has endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry, but he sounded like a Newt man Tuesday after Gingrich spoke to a packed house in Aiken. “You’re going to see the true presidential candidate come out of South Carolina, and right now I see Gingrich passing Romney.”
It sounds as though hicks should have thought of that too.
I Santorum puts his country first, he will drop out. If he doesn’t drop, then......
I wouldn’t worry about the general at the moment since Gingrich has the ability to incessantly articulate his campaign in the general election against the Teleprompter-Obama who can’t argue his way out of a wet paper bag without help from his media clowns.
Obama chanting the empty line “Hope and Change” all the time for six months in a campaign is not going to work in 2012.
Liberal-light Romney would get destroyed by Liberal-dark
A real conservative, who will take it to the socialist Hussein will win 40 out of 50 states. Reagan all over again when he ran against Carter.
Well, if we have to have Mitt, maybe we can convince him to make Newt his Chief of Staff.
Indeed, and if we end up with Romney, I hope we have a very aggressive conservative majority in Congress to pull him to the right.
Gingrich can't beat Obama. Hell, as of yet he can't even beat Romney in a Republican primary...that is very worrisome.
Obviously Gingrich isn't trying to beat Obama at the moment. If he gets the nomination his strategy will change, and so too will the polls. But even then the polls won't matter much until sometime around September. So to me all the Obama vs whoever match-ups are nothing but red herrings. They mean no more than polls early on showing that Hillary and Giuliani would end up being the nominees for 2008.
As for Romney, it isn't just Romney that Gingrich is going up against but Romney + virtually the entire Republican establishment. If not for all his money and the establishment backing him, i don't think Romney would even be a factor at this point. With all that, he becomes a formidable candidate, just like Obama by himself would be nothing but Obama with a billion dollar campaign chest + the media backing is going to be tough for anyone to beat. Besides, who else is doing better than Gingrich? Santorum is losing steam and has never particularly stood out in any of the debates. So i don't see how he is going to get his momentum back. Basically he benefited from and continues to benefit from Romney training all his attacks at Newt, leaving Santorum pretty much unscathed so that he can continue to split the conservative vote.
We give too much power to pollsters. Especially with polls projecting something 11 months away in an age where you can see wide changes of opinion in just a week's time.
“That same poll shows Romney narrowly beating Obama in a head-to-head matchup, while Gingrich would lose 37 percent to 53 percent.”
This of course is the elephant in the room. Gingrich can’t beat Obama. Hell, as of yet he can’t even beat Romney in a Republican primary...that is very worrisome.
It’s still a conservative country.
It’s just a poll.
Don’t you realize that the conservative vote in the primaries is being split 3 ways, maybe even 4 if you count Ron Paul as a deficit cutter?
Way to go Newt. Rock the house at tomorrow night’s debate.
With Barack Obama in the White House and Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader.
"Its just a poll."
Consistent with others.
"Dont you realize that the conservative vote in the primaries is being split 3 ways, maybe even 4 if you count Ron Paul as a deficit cutter?"
I do, but Newt Gingrich is arguably the most well-known and consequential conservative leader since Reagan. He really ought to have wiped away the conservative competition and crushed Romney. The fact that he can't consolidate even his own party behind him, much less the conservative wing of his own party, is problematic.
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