Can Mitt Romney stop Newt-mentum in South Carolina?
With polls showing that Newt Gingrich might be making up ground in South Carolina, Mitt Romney launched an three-pronged assault Wednesday that painted Gingrich as unreliable.
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"Well, he'd been in Congress two years when Ronald Reagan came to office,” Romney said, according to the Huffington Post. “That'd be like saying 435 congressmen were all responsible for those jobs. Government doesn't create jobs. It's the private sector that creates jobs. Congressmen taking credit for helping create jobs is like Al Gore taking credit for creating the Internet."
If Romney is able to pull off a victory in South Carolina on Saturday, he will be well-positioned to win the Republican nomination.
As a native of Michigan, long-time resident of Massachusetts, and a Mormon, Romney isn’t a natural fit for South Carolina, where nearly 60 percent of GOP primary voters are evangelical. But he brings a greater aura of electability than the other Republican candidates.
If Romney can win an unprecedented trifecta in the first three nominating contests, that should effectively freeze significant fundraising ability for any of the other candidates except Ron Paul. Congressman Paul of Texas has a loyal, libertarian-leaning following, but he has a ceiling on his support that makes winning the nomination nearly impossible.
There is, however, one caveat on Romney’s potential for a trifecta. Romney beat Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 by only eight votes. On Thursday morning, the Iowa Republican Party will release the certified vote totals, which could end up putting former Senator Santorum in the lead.
But even if that happens, Romney will have come so close to victory in Iowa, after barely competing there, that he still will get credit for a strong finish.
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