Our political Quote of the Day is actually two Quotes of the Day on the new political landscape of the GOP in wake of the South Carolina Republican Presidential primary which ended in former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decisively defeating the former presumptive front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
– Newt Gingrich has pulled a Double Lazarus, coming back from the dead twice in this campaign to win decisively in South Carolina.
Exit polls showed a broad and deep victory in this conservative state, with Newt winning tea partiers and evangelicals — as well as both men and women. Interestingly, Newt won voters who said the economy was the number one issue as well as people who said their priority was defeating President Barack Obama in November.
This not only turns the Romney campaign’s electability narrative on its head, it’s got to be making the Obama camp in Chicago smile, looking at a long GOP nomination fight ahead.
Mitt Romney’s sole strong suits were people making over $200,000, moderates and non-tea partiers, making him look like Jon Huntsman in this primary state. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement did not have the impact that was projected — pulling back the curtain on her 34% in-state approval rating despite her rising national profile.
At the Romney HQ, the atmosphere was like someone died before a big party, but the caterers still arrived, standing glumly behind the cash bar.
He ends it with this:
In his concession speech, Romney started by recycling lines from his New Hampshire victory, but delivered in a very different tone. His attacks on President Obama were now balanced by indirect hits on Newt, trying to tie him to what was styled as Democratic-oriented attacks on free market capitalism. This primary fight is getting personal.
The big picture takeaway: Florida is now set up to be the tie-breaker — its traditional role in the January gauntlet. A different candidate has won each of the three primary contests to date, reminding Republicans and political observers to call off the coronation and give the people a chance to vote.
We are looking at a long-primary fight now — almost certain to extend through Super Tuesday in early March. All of this is good in my book — the more voters who have a say in picking the Republican nominee, the better the democratic process is served.
Read it in its entirety.
Meanwhile, Republican political maven (and a close Bush family associate who is himself believed to be rooting for Romney) Karl Rove had this to say on Fox:
Rove suggested Saturday that debates will continue to be significant in shaping the GOP race as the candidates move on to Florida.
Romney “ought to use this as an opportunity to … explain Bain,” the Republican political strategist said when asked how the candidate should handle next week’s debates. “He also needs to point out Gingrich’s not conservative moments, like attacking Paul Ryan and the House Republican budget as being right wing social engineering.”
As for Gingrich, Rove said: “Newt needs to broaden this message of ‘He’s the Massachusetts moderate and I’m the conservative.’”
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.