Gingrich wins key endorsement, Romney needs to up his game

Bookmark and Share  New GOP front runner Newt Gingrich managed a huge coup today, by winning the endorsement of the State of New Hampshire’s most widely read newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader before New Hampshire votes on January 10, 2012.

While the endorsement throws a huge bonus towards Gingrich’s chances, the snub by the newspaper deals a massive blow to the other current front runner Mitt Romney six weeks ahead of Republican primary. Romney is known to have courted the newspapers support and had lunch with the Newspapers’ editor a number of times.

The paper outlining the reasons for their decision to support Gingrich wrote, “We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing, “He did it in bringing in the first Republican House in 40 years and by forging balanced budgets and even a surplus despite the political challenge of dealing with a Democratic president. A lot of candidates say they’re going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that, and in this race he offers the best shot of doing it again.”

“We don’t back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers. We look for conservatives of courage and conviction that are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job.” “He did so with the Contract with America,” the endorsement said.

The newspapers endorsement comes with a tradition of running front-page editorials and opinion columns in support of favoured candidates, and gives Mr. Gingrich an important conservative stamp of approval as he seeks to seize on his recent strong performance in polls elsewhere. There can be no doubt; the endorsement boosts Gingrich’s conservative credentials. He spent last week defending his immigration policies against accusations that they are a form of amnesty being attacked in particular by Michele Bachmann on the issue. Tomorrow, Gingrich takes a campaign swing through South Carolina, the South’s first primary state.

Former Massachusetts Governor has formed his whole election strategy on winning, and winning handsomely in New Hampshire, to provide the platform for what many believed was a near certain run to winning the GOP nomination. This setback in a state that Team Romney believed was a near certainty for a clear win, will now require a big effort and some crucial strategy decisions to get their candidate back in the race in a serious and leading candidate manner. Romney has largely ignored Iowa up to now, and this decision to ignore Iowa may come back to haunt him in his efforts to gain GOP party support, and electoral traction in the polls. Romney has found it difficult to convince the Republican base that he is strong conservative candidate who shares their deepest convictions.

A poll published last week showed him with 42% support among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, and Gingrich on 15%, Ron Paul posted 12% support and John Huntsman 8%.

After challenging the President to a series of live debates, Gingrich speaking in Naples, Florida said, President Obama can use a teleprompter if he wants to and that it would be fine with him. Gingrich also received an air of support from former President Bill Clinton who when asked about Gingrich said, “I think he’s doing well just because he’s thinking, and people are hungry for ideas that make some sense. He’s being rewarded for thinking.”

I would suggest that Romney’s team needs to put him on a more aggressive and forceful front in the coming weeks, there are many criticism’s levelled at Romney by media commentators. I am of the view that Romney’s campaign team have played it safe up until this point, however, now is the time to change tact and demonstrate strong potential leadership on issues to the Republican base.

Romney has largely run his campaign focussed on President Obama solely up until now, while I think he has run a smart and disciplined campaign on the whole, the challenge from Gingrich is potentially his most serious to date. It needs to sound a signal of warning to “Team Romney” that they first have to win the GOP nomination before turning their attention to President Obama.

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