Is Newt Gingrich the GOP's next flavor of the month?
Newt Gingrich seems to have resurrected his campaign with steady debate performances. He's saved his attacks for the Obama administration and avoided bickering with Romney and Perry.
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We ask this because it appears that Mr. Gingrich has resurrected his campaign with steady debate performances in which he (mostly) focuses his comments on the Obama administration, instead of his GOP rivals.
For instance, CBS political analyst Brian Montopoli listed Gingrich as one of the winners of Tuesday night’s CNN debate in Las Vegas. The ex-Speaker was professorial, according to Mr. Montopoli, peppering his answers with historical references and presenting himself as an idea guy, floating above the fray.
“It’s probably not going to lead him to the nomination, but it’s turning what had been a catastrophic campaign into a respectable one,” wrote Montopoli.
Montopoli wasn’t alone on this. University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato tweeted after the debate that Gingrich had turned in an A- performance. Newly announced non-candidate Sarah Palin told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News that she thought Gingrich did best of all the candidates.
“He seems to be above a lot of the bickering that goes on,” said Ms. Palin.
In some ways its surprising the Gingrich has even survived on the trail long enough to appear on Tuesday night’s stage. In June his campaign was in tatters after his entire senior staff resigned in protest at what they felt was their candidate’s disinterest in traditional campaigning. Reports noted that he was taking a long vacation cruise with wife Calista at a time when other candidates were working Iowa’s hustings hard.
By August his support as measured in polls had declined by about two-thirds from the beginning of the year, to under 5 percent in RealClearPolitics’ rolling averages of the GOP field.
But he’s done well in debates, as opposed to Iowa State Fair handshaking. He’s generally played the role of Greek chorus, attacking moderators for trying to create divisions between candidates and focusing his own remarks on what he sees as the incumbent’s shortfalls.