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Your guide to the best commentary on Gingrich's big win in South Carolina

Posted on 01/22/2012

NEWT WINS SOUTH CAROLINA

Screen shot 2012-01-22 at 08.53.43

Graphic from USA Today. The Washington Examiner has the detailed results.

THE BIG THING

"For Mitt Romney, the South Carolina primary was not just a defeat, though it was most emphatically that. It was also where his campaign confronted the prospect it had most hoped to avoid: a dominant, surging and energized rival." - New York Times

"The story of the Republican race for months has been the search for an anti-Mitt, a non-Romney, a single candidate who conservatives could unite around. It is now possible, but by no means inevitable, that Gingrich has the momentum to become that candidate." - BBC

THE MESSAGE OF THE EXIT POLLS

  • "In all three nominating contests so far, at least a plurality of voters have said the economy and electability were important factors. In Iowa and New Hampshire, such voters backed Mr. Romney. But in South Carolina, they backed Mr. Gingrich." - Wall Street Journal
  • "Fifty-two percent of the South Carolina primary electorate said that the recent debates were one of the most important factors in deciding their vote. Of that group, Gingrich beat Romney 47 percent to 24 percent." - Washington Post
  • "Two-thirds of voters interviewed in exit polls said they made their decision on the basis of the two South Carolina debates, where Mr. Gingrich exploited racial resentment and hatred of the news media to connect with furious voters." - New York Times
  • "Gingrich took a full 45 percent of those who described themselves as “very conservative,” compared with 23 percent for Santorum, 20 percent for Romney and 10 percent for Paul. Gingrich also won among voters who said they were “somewhat conservative,” while Mitt Romney came in first with “moderate or liberal” voters." - Politico

GINGRICH'S VICTORY

Gingrich Newt logo

  • "Thanks in part to strong performances in televised debates, he has scored a victory in the largest state to vote so far in the GOP nominating process, after weak finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire." - Wall Street Journal
  • "South Carolinians don't like elitists. They don't like nice guys. They like candidates who can hang at the bowling alley or the barbecue. And they like fighters. So, it shouldn't come as any great surprise that Newt Gingrich dropped the hammer on Mitt Romney." - Daily Beast
  • "The South Carolina electorate didn’t vote for a person or a platform; they voted for a personality — the fiery, combative, MSM-hating Newt. They want the GOP nominee to charge at the president, throw around the term Alinksyite, push back at John King and Juan Williams, and shout out the absurdity of Barack Obama as president and the destructiveness of his combination of epic incompetence and awful ideology." - Hugh Hewitt for NRO
  • "It is very hard to understand how Gingrich’s “message” (more like a Google thought cloud: “boo elites, religious bigots, food stamps”) won in South Carolina" - Jennifer Rubin
  • Gingrich's surge has been "generated almost exclusively by the politics of ressentiment" - Ross Douthat

Romney on FoxROMNEY'S WEAKNESSES

  • Romney's muddled responses to questions about his tax returns hurt him - Politico
  • "Romney's fall in the polls in South Carolina was dramatic and lightning-quick, as Gingrich surged in the last few days before votes were cast. Analysts attributed the former House speaker's rise in part to a well-received debate performance Thursday. But Romney also suffered setbacks, including the news that updated vote totals showed he had in fact lost Iowa's caucuses to Rick Santorum. He also struggled to answer repeated questions about his tax returns, which he eventually said he would release in April." - CNN
  • "His recent debate performances were as abysmal as Mr Gingrich's were stellar. When questioned about his wealth, he stuttered, twitched and stammered, for no good reason. He did not get rich robbing banks; he got rich by being good at his job, and if, as he said tonight, Republicans celebrate success and prosperity, he has nothing to apologise for." - Economist

ROMNEY BEGINS HIS FIGHTBACK

  • "The South Carolina primary winner, he said, was just as guilty of using the “weapons of the left” as Barack Obama — and won’t have a chance against the president in a general election." - Politico
  • Romney to Gingrich: Release Freddie Mac documents - USA Today
  • Romney supporters insist GOP won't nominate "serial adulterer" - LA Times
  • Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard insists Romney needs a big idea to enthuse conservatives. 
  • At NRO, Larry Kudlow welcomes Romney's attack on crony capitalism: "The issue of crony capitalism should be front and center in this campaign. President Obama defends his cronies instead of the so called 99 percent. That’s his contradiction. Big Labor, Big Business, and Big Green Energy are collections of cronies with big jobs, big salaries, and big privileges. Nothing to do with the 99 percent."
  • Ten things Romney needs to do to beat Gingrich - Toby Harnden
  • Only Ron Paul has bigger negatives among Republicans than Gingrich - CBS
  • Another Gingrich self-destruction is likeliest to save Romney but the GOP establishment is panicking - Paul Begala at the Daily Beast

Charges from rival Republican candidates that he's a closet moderate don't hold up - Doyle McManus in the LA Times

Santorum largeSANTORUM FAILS TO EMERGE AS CONSERVATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO ROMNEY

  • "Santorum will have to answer questions about whether he would drop out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination in favor of former House speaker Gingrich." - Washington Post
  • Santorum vows to focus on social as well as fiscal issues, unlike Gingrich - The Hill
  • Conservative Christians determined to stop Gingrich, raise money for Santorum - RedState
  • "Harking back to his roots as the grandson of a coal miner, he told enthusiastic supporters that he was the candidate who would speak for conservative blue-collar voters.  “Those are the people in America who are being left behind,” he said. “Those are the folks in America who neither party has a voice for.”" - LA Times

Santorum's 3rd place in SC confirms Dana Milbank's argument that religious conservative leaders are losing influence - Washington Post

ON TO FLORIDA

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  • "Mitt Romney will join in two Florida debates next week after waffling about whether he would show." - HotAir | WSJ
  • "Newt has the momentum going into Florida, which is bigger in terms of delegate count than the first three combined" - Rod Dreher
  • "Indeed, even if Gingrich is able to pull off an upset in Florida, the primary calendar heading into February still favors Romney. Nevada will be the next state to vote, and given its large Mormon population it will almost certainly go for Romney." - Daily Caller

After three different candidates win the first three contests Bill Kristol wonders if another candidate might yet run - Weekly Standard

Commentary fears Obama will be big winner of long campaign: "As long as Republicans are tearing each other apart rather than focusing the public on President Obama’s failures, they will not be laying the groundwork for victory in November."

Christie sets ambitious agenda in New Jersey amid 2016 speculation - Fox

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