Opinion Brief

Time for Newt Gingrich to quit?

Newt seems to loathe Mitt. But by continuing to split the conservative vote with Rick Santorum, Newt is all but guaranteeing a Romney victory

Newt Gingrich convincingly won Tuesday's Republican presidential primary in his home state of Georgia, but he flopped in the other nine states that voted on Super Tuesday. Most political strategists agree that the former House speaker has no viable path to the nomination, and that his continued presence in the race only serves to divide the Right, preventing the other (stronger) remaining social conservative, Rick Santorum, from mounting a real challenge to moderate frontrunner Mitt Romney. Is it time for Gingrich to throw in the towel?

Gingrich should quit for his party's sake: "If Newt bowed out, we might have a real contest" between Romney and Santorum, says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. But because Newt is "a massive, gelatinous blob of self-loving," he surely won't take one for the team. That leaves the GOP in the worst position possible, with "a frontrunner who cannot be stopped, but who is losing altitude against Obama with every vote, and [will be] slimed by Republican rivals for at least another month.""Live-blogging Super Tuesday results"

Newt should keep fighting: "Newt didn't have a particularly good night anywhere except for Georgia," says William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, but he picked up some delegates and "got plenty of prime air time on cable." And it's not as if Santorum gained much steam — he actually stumbled when he "went from clear frontrunner in Ohio to loser in Ohio." All things considered, "I'm not sure anything changed" on Super Tuesday. Gingrich has as much reason as ever to keep fighting."Super Tuesday the day after"

If Newt wants Mitt to lose, he must quit: "Santorum is now the trusted candidate of the Tea Party and social conservatives," says John Zogby at Forbes. Gingrich has two choices: He can drop out, send his voters to Santorum, and become an indirect "Romney slayer." Or he can stay in the race and continue his "blood feud" to get back at Romney for smearing him with negative ads. By staying in, Newt is making it "much easier for Romney to be the nominee." If Newt really hates Mitt, he'll drop out and get his revenge by clearing a path for Santorum."Does Newt hate Romney enough to drop out?"

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