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Newt Gingrich's 'bitter' anti-Romney crusade: Will it succeed?
The former frontrunner may have finished a disappointing fourth place in Iowa, but he isn't going down without a (potentially nasty) fight
 
Newt Gingrich finished fourth in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, and judging from his fiery concession speech, he plans to wage an all-out assault against Mitt Romney.
Newt Gingrich finished fourth in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, and judging from his fiery concession speech, he plans to wage an all-out assault against Mitt Romney.
Michael Nagle/Getty Images

Just weeks ago, Newt Gingrich was the clear frontrunner in Iowa's presidential polling, but he finished a distant fourth in Tuesday night's caucuses. And it's clear who he blames: Mitt Romney. On Monday, Gingrich said he felt "Romney-boated" in Iowa, referring to $3.5 million in efficiently vicious attack ads that a Romney-aligned super-PAC sicked on him. On Tuesday, Newt called Romney a liar for claiming he had nothing to do with the ads. After the caucuses, Gingrich sharpened his attacks, vowing not only to stay in the race, but to hit the "Massachusetts moderate" hard and frequently. Man, "Newt is bitter," observed The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza. His poor finish in Iowa has crippled his campaign, but will Gingrich's "kamikaze mission" against Romney take down the Rombot, too?

Gingrich is making empty threats: Newt will probably stay in the race "as an also-ran for a while," says Jonathan Bernstein at The Washington Post. And we'll almost certainly see him "alternating by the hour between loudly proclaiming his virtue in (frankly!) running a (fundamentally!) positive campaign and viciously attacking Romney." But Gingrich's war chest is empty, and "since he won't have the money to put those attacks in front of voters, it doesn't matter much" how loudly he barks.
"Iowa winnows the field"

Newt may get his revenge yet: He may not have the cash to "Gingrich-boat" Romney, but Newt "is a smart man with a quick wit," and he has two debates this weekend to clobber Romney with a "rhetorical billy club," says Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media. No-cost debates are "Gingrich's friendliest territory" and, if he can "leave some real marks" on Romney this time, he'll "open up a path to the nomination for yet another non-Romney."
"As the caucuses begin and end, Newt Gingrich plots revenge

And it's not as if Republicans love Romney: "Newt is seeking his revenge," says Daniel Horowitz at RedState, and he's clearly more interested in seeing Romney lose than in winning himself. Romney will probably "finally incur aggressive and sustained attacks from multiple candidates," but Gingrich is the only one with enough national support to keep up the fight. And Romney is vulnerable: He may have won Iowa with 25 percent of the vote, but "the punchline is that 75 percent of GOP voters are willing to vote for anyone — anyone — against Romney."
"Iowa: They didn't want Mitt in 2008; they don't want him now"

 

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