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Is Newt Gingrich giving up?
The former House speaker says he has to win South Carolina to keep the GOP presidential nomination within reach. Is he being too defeatist?
 
Some commentators say Newt Gingrich is squandering the new momentum he gained in Monday's debate by issuing gloomy forecasts.
Some commentators say Newt Gingrich is squandering the new momentum he gained in Monday's debate by issuing gloomy forecasts.
Mark Hirsch/ZUMA Press/Corbis

As Rick Santorum vowed to wage an extended battle against frontrunner Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich took the opposite tack — conceding Tuesday that he probably can't win the nomination if he doesn't win the upcoming South Carolina primary. "If I don't win the primary Saturday, we will probably nominate a moderate," the former House speaker said, clearly referring to Romney. "And the odds are fairly high he will lose to Obama." Is Gingrich right to be so pessimistic?

No — and such gloominess is a strategical error: Newt is just trying to be realistic, says Rick Moran at The American Thinker, "but saying something like this before the vote is akin to defeatism." Just mentioning the possibility of giving up "is enough to scare off some voters who like voting for the winner." Gingrich has "no reason to drop out even if Romney takes Florida as well as South Carolina," because Romney has nowhere near enough delegates yet to clinch it.
"Gingrich admits he can't win unless he takes S.C. primary"

Especially since Newt has new momentum: After Gingrich's "brilliant debate performance" on Monday, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, "Mitt Romney's team may want to keep the party favors in the box for a little while longer." Newt is starting to regain momentum he lost in Iowa — a Rasmussen poll placed him back in a near tie with Romney nationwide. But Gingrich needs to stay positive and turn that surge into his first statewide win on Saturday, or his claim that he can win nationwide will get harder to buy.
"Rasmussen national poll showing second Gingrich boomlet?"

This could be a self-fulfilling prophecy: It's baffling to see Gingrich "allowing a good debate night to dissipate" and letting his desperation shine through, says Hugh Hewitt at Townhall. "Gingrich has risen when he has attacked Obama or the MSM or the sacred cows of media elites." But he turns voters off when he warns that the GOP will ultimately fail. By reducing his message to "elect me because the guy I can't beat can't beat Obama," that's exactly what he's doing.
"Elect me because the guy I can't beat can't beat Obama"

 

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