Burning Question

Can Newt Gingrich actually win?

The GOP hopeful, written off after an awful campaign rollout, is enjoying a renaissance thanks to sharp debate showings and his rivals' implosions

Newt Gingrich's surging presidential campaign just got another boost, thanks to the former House speaker's widely praised performance in Wednesday's debate. Yes, Newt's disastrous campaign roll-out in the spring was widely ridiculed. But now, with Herman Cain dogged by a sexual harassment scandal, Rick Perry crippled by pathetic debate performances, and Michele Bachmann reduced to an asterisk, conservatives are renewing the search for an alternative to moderate frontrunner Mitt Romney. Is Gingrich their man?

Yes. GOP voters realize that Newt could beat Obama: Gingrich's eloquence has fueled his rapid rise from "near zero to third" in the polls, says Dorothy Rabinowitz in The Wall Street Journal. "His greatest asset lies in his capacity to speak to Americans as he has done, with such potency, during the Republican debates," explaining how President Obama is wrecking America and how he will fix it. Finally, GOP voters are "absorbing" the possibility that Gingrich is their "most formidable contender" against the Democratic incumbent."Why Gingrich could win"

No. Gingrich has Cain-like skeletons in his closet: Cain's self-destruction is a reminder that anyone who can't submit "to complete scrutiny isn't going to hack it in presidential politics," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. So Gingrich, "of multiple marriages and ethics violations as speaker of the House," should be the last candidate conservatives turn to now that character is a main concern. Anybody — Romney, Bachmann, or even Rick Santorum — would be safer in that regard than Newt. "Path to the nomination: How does Cain end?"

And he's just not likable: Suddenly, more and more people are "slobbering" over Gingrich, smitten with his "wonkishness," says Donald Douglas at American Power. No doubt he'll be among the top-tier candidates come the early contests in January, but his supporters should be wary. Let's be honest: Newt is kind of mean. "He's got the worst people skills, seriously. I can't imagine voting for him.""Newt Gingrich could win the GOP nomination? Newt Gingrich!"

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