Gingrich Steps Back and Romney Steps Up

Bookmark and Share    It is most likely too late to make a difference for Newt, but the one time Republican presidential frontrunner has walked back his class warfare inspired attacks on Mitt Romney from the left and denounced a Super PAC for their use of an over the top anti-Romney mini-drama that went after Mitt for his days at Bain Capital.

I previously explained that despite my endorsement of Newt Gingrich, I could not deny my disappointment in his decision to focus more on taking Mitt Romney down with a typical liberal argument, than he was to build himself with conservative oriented, savvy solutions.  The tactic was so disturbing that I considered withdrawing my endorsement but in the end decided that the reasons for my endorsement of Newt have not changed.  However I did make clear that Newt needed to denounce the pro-Gingrich Super PAC airing the anti-Romney movie and the movie itself.  I even went so far as to claim that his unfortunate decision to go the route he did, signaled the end of his campaign and stated that  “I don’t mind defending the candidate I support, but when I have to find good reason to defend my own reasons for continuing to support that candidate, that candidate’s campaign is over.”

Newt apparently came to a similar conclusion.

After opening a campaign headquarters in Orlando, Florida, Newt announced that he was  calling on Winning Our Future, the Super PAC behind the movie to “either edit out every single mistake or pull the entire film”.

Two days earlier, Gingrich publicly stated that his own attack on Romney’s business record were not appropriate.  He told an audience in south carolina that given the backdrop of President Obama, it is impossible to legitimately challenge free market conduct without it being taken out of proper context.

I for one am glad that Newt realized and publicly acknowledged his mistake.  At some point in the future, when the issue is less fresh on the minds of voters, when it comes up again, it will be easy to squash by simply reminding people that even Newt agreed the ad was a dishonest portrayal of Mitt Romney.  However, the damage this did to Newt is undeniable.  It is a hit that he can hardly afford.  And while his numbers in South carolina are looking a tad better than they were a day or two ago,  nationally Newt is still taking hit.  But a new Rasmussen poll shows in South Carolina alone, Newt may be recapturing the momentum.

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll finds Romney ahead with 28% support and Gingrich back on the rise with 21% of the vote.  Rick Santorum on the other hand is trending downward.  He has fallen 8 percentage points and is now tied for third place with Ron Paul at 16%.

If this trend continues, South Carolina will offer Newt Gingrich his very last chance to become an enduring challenger to Mitt Romney.  A win by Gingrich, or anyone else other than Romney in South Carolina will dramatically change the course of this nomination contest.  And if Gingrich can defeat Romney in South Carolina, it will be a new race in Florida and beyond.

Meanwhile the Republican attacks against Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital have prompted the Romney campaign to launch its first ad defending that record. In addition to reasserting the claim that Bain Capital created far more jobs than may have been lost in any one venture, the spot also takes a jab at Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry for their attempts to attack Governor Romney for his work at Bain.

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