WASHINGTON – Newt Gingrich is toxicity personified, but his political ear has perfect pitch, as you might have seen yesterday on Meet the Press. Without a hint of shame, Gingrich presented himself as the anti-Washington outsider, even throwing a nod to the Ron Paul crowd on the Fed, while delivering a populist, the Republican and elite elite don’t like me, so I’m your guy pitch that would be remarkable if it wasn’t based on blarney. The first polls show people in Florida are buying it.
Mitt Romney needed a strong interview with Chris Wallace yesterday and he got one. Romney communicated easily for the first time in a while, seemed relaxed, but also forthcoming on mistakes made, including that letting his tax returns distract his campaign. So, he announced on Fox he’ll be releasing his 2010 on his website Tuesday, as well as an outline of his 2011 returns. Romney will never be warm and fuzzy, but when confronted on his religion and tithing and other personal issues, he acquitted himself well today.
Mark, my husband and a recovering Mormon, had one big beef with Romney when it came to his answer on tithing. In the Mormon Church, every year you have to declare to the bishop whether you’re giving a full 10%. Romney could have said that he gave 10% to his church long before he had his own money. He could have opened up and stated the verse in the Old Testament and shown some heart at the core of his faith. Since he needs to win over more conservatives, it’s the move to make.
This is the biggest issue in Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Not the Mormonism, but the inability to allow conservatives to see what makes the man who he is. With Newt unloading to the point of too much information on every subject in the universe, Romney comes off even more inaccessible, which will be deadly going forward.
Meanwhile, Romney surrogate Chris Christie played offense on Meet the Press for Mitt Romney, making the best case for him, showing the attribute Romney doesn’t, which is being able to connect and talk straight in a way that would be a real attribute on Romney’s team, including as vice president.
Gov. Christie said aloud what a lot of people are whispering behind Gingrich’s back:
“I think Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time,” he said. “Whether he’ll do it again in the future, I don’t know. But Gov. Romney never has. … We all know the record. He was run out of the speakership by his own party. He was fined $300,000 for ethics violations. This is a guy who has had a very difficult political career at times and has been an embarrassment to the party. You remember these times, you were here. …I don’t need to regale the country with that entire list again except to say this: I’m not saying he will do it again in the future, but sometimes past is prologue.”
Mitt Romney’s down, but he’s far from being out. He knows he’s got a real fight in Florida, which he needs to win. Between Romney and Christie, it’s clear they’re coming for Newt Gingrich in a whole new way. The issue of character is now going to be up front.
So, what better place to start pushing that line than with women? Gingrich will lose by a mile with the ladies in a general election, which Mitt Romney’s team is mining in a new radio ad.
However, none of this may matter in the short-term, because Newt Gingrich has tapped into the fury of the right against the media, the Republican establishment, as well as Washington. It’s a temper tantrum trifecta for Newt Gingrich, and because the GOP conservative base are so desperate to take it to Pres. Obama they’re willing to ride along, even if they can’t beat him.
Because make no mistake about it, Newt Gingrich cannot beat Barack Obama, something the Republican establishment knows all too well, which is why they’re freaking out.
Memo to GOP Star Chamber. RE: Not Losing the *(&#! House and Senate GOP Majority w/ Newt Disaster. Time for a Secret Meeting. – Mike Murphy tweet
Taylor Marsh is the author of the new book, The Hillary Effect – Politics, Sexism and the Destiny of Loss, which is now available in print on Amazon. Marsh is a veteran political analyst and commentator. She has been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her new media blog.