When Newt Gingrich was on a roll last month, he urged Rick Santorum to drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and endorse Newt as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. Now it's Gingrich's turn to be nudged aside. The conservative National Review has issued a call for Gingrich to end his now-struggling campaign and get behind Santorum, who has shot to the top of some national polls after trouncing Romney in three nominating contests last week. Gingrich says it's "silly" to suggest he should quit, and insists that he fully expects to bounce back in the polls. Is Newt right to stay in, or is backing Santorum the best way for him to foil Romney?
Newt should quit: "Fairly soon, Newt won't have a choice," says Rick Moran at The American Thinker. "His money sources are drying up, and he has little to compete with on Super Tuesday" on March 6. If he stays in, Newt will just continue scoring in the low teens or single digits in the next several contests. So why "shouldn't Newt take his own advice and help Santorum become the nominee by consolidating conservative support behind one candidate?" Clearly, Gingrich's own "quest is at an end."
"NRO calls for Newt to drop out and support Santorum"
But Gingrich is still stronger than Santorum: The National Review's anti-Newt fervor is so strong that it "overpowers mere facts," says David Weigel at Slate. Gingrich has 29 delegates to Santorum's three, and the former House speaker still leads his surging, socially conservative rival by 260,000 popular votes. The "Santorum surge" is based on media coverage of his recent success in non-binding caucuses and the fact that nobody has gone negative on him ... yet.
"National Review to Newt: Drop dead"
Love him or hate him, Newt's not going anywhere: Gingrich might really "think that once the debates start back up he'll start wowing the crowds again," says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. Or maybe he's just "doing all of this for sheer ego." But stepping aside and letting "the likes of Rick Santorum" eclipse him would not be "a Gingrich-ian move." He's more likely to stick around "as long as he can, drawing off votes, donations, and supporters, and tossing verbal grenades" at his rivals until the bitter end.
"National Review to Newt: Drop out and Endorse Santorum"