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GOP Field in Flux

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

My Dad would be beaming with pride over the behavior of Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain in Saturday's debate, where there were polite discussions over the issues that concern us all. Moreover, the candidates offered their genuine solutions to the nation's problems without the personal attacks that would have violated Dad's 11th Commandment. The winner in the Gingrich-Cain debate was this nation and its people.

In the campaign itself, Herman Cain's recently soaring campaign is threatened by charges that he had sexually harassed several women when he was president of the National Restaurant Association. As of now the unproven charges have failed to damage his numbers but that still may happen as a result of the media's relentless coverage of the charges, which Cain vehemently denies have any merit. Unfortunately for Cain the story has legs, and the media will not let up the pressure.

It's far too early to write Cain off. The charges have failed to dent his high standing in the polls, where he's been on top in some. He has genuine appeal, a winning sense of humor, and a relentless determination to win. It's hard to ignore the suspicion that the media attacks on Cain are meant to drive out of the race a black candidate who is a serious threat to Barack Obama's chances of hanging on to the White House.

Like most of his rivals, Cain has a plan -- he calls it the 9-9-9 Plan -- to restore our economy. He's emerging as a tough and determined fighter -- qualities the American people admire.

Most dramatic has been the sudden rise in the fortunes of Newt Gingrich, who is cutting into the support of his rivals in the key Iowa primary. One new poll even shows that Newt, who has been around forever, has all of a sudden soared into double digits nationally. Some voters don't recall his speakership of the House of Representatives, so he almost seems to be a newcomer as a candidate in national politics.

Few would deny that Gingrich, a renowned historian, author and political star, is one of the nation's most thoughtful and brilliant statesmen.

The fact that Gingrich has published a new Civil War book, "The Crater," is a real plus because it gives him added opportunities to appear on television to push the book and, by inference, his candidacy. "The Crater" deals with one of the waning Civil War's more bizarre episodes and is certain to be widely read.

The media have all but anointed Mitt Romney as the certain GOP nominee. He has been the front-runner for the nomination and continues to have that distinction. Romney, however, has a serious problem. He is unacceptable to some GOP voters, many of who say they would not vote for him in the race against President Obama. A large segment of the GOP electorate considers him and his policies as far too liberal.

He is, however, a skilled and cogent candidate and has proven to be a genuine pro during recent debates. He continues to be the front-runner but he is vulnerable because the grass roots and tea party voters view him with suspicion.

Keep in mind that Election Day 2012 is a long way off, and in American politics only one thing is certain -- that nothing is certain.

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