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Coffee House

Newt’s good week might come to an early end

19 January 2012

4:02 PM

19 January 2012

4:02 PM

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It had been a pretty good week for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. He put in a strong performance in Monday night’s debate, he got a near-endorsement from Sarah Palin (she said ‘If I
had a vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going, I’d vote for Newt.’), a poll yesterday put him just 3
points behind Romney nationally, and one today shows him taking the lead in South Carolina. And he can
expect to pick up a good number of Rick Perry’s few remaining supporters, with the Texas Governor dropping out today and endorsing
Gingrich.


Meanwhile, things haven’t been going so well for Mitt Romney. There’s been increasing focus on his financial affairs: the
rate of tax
he pays, the amount he earns in speaking fees and the
funds he has listed in the Cayman Islands. On top of this, the recount in Iowa has
deprived Romney of his win there – instead of finishing eight votes ahead of Rick Santorum, the final official tally has him 34 votes behind.

All of this had seemed to reverse the momentum as we approach the South Carolina primary. Whereas Romney had been looking a surer and surer bet to win there, there’s now a very real chance that Gingrich could snatch victory on Saturday night.

But tonight, Gingrich’s often-mentioned ‘personal baggage’ looks set to dent that momentum. ABC News is airing an interview with his second wife, Marianne (to whom he was married when
he began an affair with his current wife, Callista). Suffice it to say, she’s unlikely to shine a positive light on the former Speaker. In one clip (above) she claims he asked for an open marriage.
And while Gingrich’s affairs and divorces are common knowledge, the interview – as well as Romney’s new ads
featuring Republicans who served under Gingrich in Congress calling him ‘chaotic’ and ‘erratic’ – might change the media narrative from ‘Gingrich on the
rise’ to ‘Gingrich under fire’. Even one of Gingrich’s crowd-pleasing debate performances tonight might not be able to keep his surge going.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


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