Can Newt Gingrich save his campaign?
Some GOP strategists say his presidential campaign is as good as done following his criticism of Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare, but Newt Gingrich isn't giving up. The week ahead could be telling.
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“I’ve got to think that they’re looking at all this and shaking their heads,” says Dante Scala, a political scientist at the University of New Hampshire.Skip to next paragraph
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Even if average voters may not be following all the twists and turns of Gingrich’s travails, they already have impressions of him from the mid-1990s as a high-octane, if controversial, speaker of the House, and more recently as a Fox commentator, author, and policy entrepreneur. For some, the impressions are not good. Even before his latest stumbles, polls showed unfavorable ratings almost as high as his favorables.
But with the GOP field still forming, now is the time to lock in support. In New Hampshire, where former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads in GOP polls by a wide margin, some Republicans are looking for an “anybody-but-Romney conservative.”
“Newt fits the bill in that sense, but conservative New Hampshire voters are going to be asking the same question as moderate New Hampshire voters,” says UNH’s Mr. Scala. “They’re concerned with viability as well.”
Some Republicans are already convinced that Gingrich cannot beat President Obama.
“The opponent Obama needs to run against, the only one he can beat, is the old, uncaring Republican,” Republican strategist Alex Castellanos wrote on the Daily Caller website Tuesday. “It is not a caricature he needs to create. It lives, it walks, it breathes. It’s the Gingrich. In this operatic campaign of seduction, he is the devil in a red dress, a temptress who would lead Republicans to ruin.”
“The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding,” Mr. Tyler wrote. “Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods.”
The Obama White House and the Democrats have found the Gingrich mess irresistible.