The GOP presidential primary in Florida has become a two-horse race. Mitt Romney is polling up to nine points ahead of Newt Gingrich, probably the result of his two strong showings in this week’s debates. Neither Rick Santorum nor Ron Paul appear to be factors beyond bleeding away some support from the two front-runners.
The so-called Republican establishment is said to be closing ranks to hammer away at Gingrich’s past in support of Romney. And the hard-right of the GOP keeps telling us Gingrich is not a true conservative, which of course is nonsense.
The Drudge Report website loaded its home page Thursday with anti-Newt links. Conservative commenter Ann Coulter is talking tough about Gingrich’s electability—her latest column is titled, “Re-elect Obama, Vote Newt!” And Tom DeLay, has piled on, saying, he, Gingrich, is “not really a conservative.” And the list goes on.
The former House speaker has struck back at Tom Delay and Ann Coulter. In a telephone interview by Fox News’ Victor Garcia, he dismissed them saying:
Look I think there are a whole bunch of folks who represent the old order; they attacked Ronald Reagan in 1980 exactly the same way. They are looking at a national poll that shows me ahead of Romney 52-39 in a two way race and they are recognizing that if I come back as president, that I will be for very dramatic, very bold change and they are terrified. I have no interest in what Tom Delay did that got him in trouble. I thought it was wrong and a mistake, I have a very different approach to that and I have no Idea what motivates Ann Coulter but I find that she is all over the map. Basically she is for Romney and therefore anything she says about me is a reflection of the fact that she is for Romney. I expect people who are for Romney to attack me because they are terrified because he is losing.
The way I see it, whatever Newt Gingrich may or may not have been and done in the past, the man was and is a true conservative. In the 1990s, who was the conservative standard bearer if not Gingrich?
In contrast, at what point has Mitt Romney ever held that symbolic post? It wasn’t that long ago—mere weeks—that the GOP establishment considered him too moderate. Now they seem to be rallying round the former Massachusetts governor.
The question that really matters is whether Gingrich can beat President Obama in November. Obviously, the “Republican establishment,” as Gingrich calls them, is far from convinced he can and has launched aggressive campaigns to discredit him.
Internecine warfare is always an ugly thing and will only strengthen Barack Obama’s cause in the upcoming presidential campaign.