A little over a week ago, Karl Rove advised Republicans to wrap their support around Mitt Romney because it was pretty much a done deal Romney would grab the GOP presidential nomination. “In an open race for the GOP nomination, no Republican has won both Iowa and New Hampshire, as Mitt Romney has,” wrote Rove. He went on to say South Carolina would be the last dance/chance for several candidates like Newt Gingrich.
Rove also haughtily noted “a small membership committee does not govern the process. No group of power brokers can pressure others into uniting behind one candidate. Millions of primary voters and caucus-goers will select the GOP's nominee.” Well a truer word was never said. Despite all the liberal media’s wishful thinking and the likes of Rove and rest of the Republican establishment, South Carolina voters spoke and voted overwhelmingly for Newt Gingrich 40% compared to 27% for Romney. This was a landslide victory for Gingrich.
What a reversal of fortune this past week was for Romney. Rick Santorum was declared the winner of Iowa after a recount revealed he won more votes than Romney. Romney won New Hampshire. Then Newt took South Carolina. Three primaries so far with three different winners and Mitt Romney didn’t make history.
I’ve said repeatedly that conservative voters would decide who their GOP presidential nominee would be rather than abdicating the decision to Republican establishment. Newt won South Carolina because voters aren’t stupid and debates matter. From the start, Newt was a deft debater. Before his PAC received an infusion of cash from Sheldon Adelson, Newt dominated debates with brains and bold ideas to defend America at home and abroad.
There was never a question where Newt stood on the issues then Newt’s PAC Winning the Future got more money to combat Romney’s negative ads against him in Iowa and the game changed. Suddenly, what was good for Newt wasn’t good for Romney. Newt’s PAC ran a negative ad on Romney’s tenure at Bain and voters started questioning plastic Romney’s electability with more intensity.
Apart from these negative ads, it was Newt’s performance in the last two debates that sealed the deal for him with South Carolina voters. In an exchange with Ron Paul during the Fox News debate Monday, Newt showed he wouldn’t flinch over foreign policy issues. Newt disagreed with Paul that our enemies like Osama bin laden should be treated like a Chinese dissident and given shelter, adding bin laden was a terrorist and enemy combatant and should be treated as such and killing him was a good thing.