David Brody

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Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma


After watching the debate Thursday night, I had one question: Did anyone see Newt Gingrich? Have police put out an APB on his whereabouts because he may have been on stage last night but that doesn’t mean that he was there.

The Gingrich that conservatives have come to know and love at these debates didn’t show up. He had a few small moments but you could tell that he is struggling between going on the attack and playing Mr. Nice guy. It’s like he is his own debate consultant telling himself to stay positive and not let Romney get under his skin so he doesn’t come across as angry. It’s not working.

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The magic of Gingrich has been to let loose and let the chips fall where they may. But now, with so much more riding on the outcome of these debates it seems like he’s trying to pick and choose his spots rather than just being Newt. That’s what got him in the final four in the first place.

The fact that he originally chose not to go after Romney on the Swiss bank accounts issue was a moment of weakness for Gingrich. You can’t rail on Romney on the trail and then come up lame on the debate stage. Furthermore, he made Romney look even better because it gave Romney a chance to essentially say, “Man up” and don’t run and hide.

Nothing was really working for Gingrich last night. Even when he tried to play the liberal media card against Wolf Blitzer (suggesting that the moderator shouldn’t be asking questions about transparency and tax returns) Blitzer threw it back at Newt by telling him that Gingrich was the one to bring it up so it’s fair game. Good point.

Additionally, Gingrich even tried calling for a “truce” last night which suggests to me that he’d rather not talk about Romney’s finances as long as Romney stops talking about his involvement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For Newt that tradeoff would probably be a plus at this point.

The other thing I noticed was that Gingrich always lets Romney finish his answers which may earn him points for politeness but when you are being bombarded time after time with a kitchen sink full of opposition research you can’t afford to let him rattle each one of those items off in 30 or 60 second chunks. It begs for interrupting but Gingrich doesn’t go there. Instead, he collects his thoughts and then tends to give some sort of generic intellectual point about Romney’s criticism.

In short, Gingrich is at times morphing into FOX News analyst rather than fighting back hard against Romney. Newt wins when he fires up conservatives on the issues. That’s his strong suit and Romney can’t match him in passion and rhetoric. But Gingrich loses when he has to defend himself against the barrage of criticism coming his way and makes it even worse for himself when he doesn’t offer strong rebuttals.

These last two debates in Florida have shown us that Mitt Romney is up for the fight. His all but secure nomination has been severely challenged by Gingrich and instead of shrinking, Romney has instead shown an intense spark. In the past Romney’s debate performances were always solid but lacked oomph.

Not anymore. What we are witnessing is the “4th Quarter Romney” who is bringing his “A game” when it matters most. That should give conservatives more confidence that he’ll be better able to deal with President Obama in the fall if he makes it that far.

My sense here is we’ll see an uptick for Romney in the polls down in Florida after this debate. Gingrich can win Florida, but he’ll need major backing from evangelicals and the Tea Party to do it. However, Rick Santorum was again impressive last night. He’s establishing himself as the credible alternative to Romney or Gingrich. His best hope is that Gingrich implodes and the base stays lukewarm on Romney.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 6:26 AM



Comments on this post

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

Christians we have to pray and work hard if we are going to keep a Mormon from the WH. We don't want his Prophet in the WH. Get a clue. Mitt might be rich but the Mormons are influenced by their prophet in Utah for fear of being excommunicated and going to hell.
Left by KellieC on Jan 27, 2012 12:44 PM

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

I agree that Newt just needs to be himself. This election is not just about who will become the next President,it is about the survival of me and you and your family and of the United States of America. Show that your willing to fight,kick or punch out the opposition talking points with the truth.For me and my family and friends,Give me liberty or give me death. Oh,I heard on coast to coast radio last night that for every dollar we spend on on the space program we make $17.00 from those investments. Makes sense to me. Instead of giving the Russians 50-60 million of more dollars so our astronaut can ride on a Russian spacecraft to go to the International space station.If I,m right did we not-pay for the bulk of the space station with our tax dollars.Obama is destroying America and as far as I'm concern,I don't want my candidate being civil with the likes of politicians with Marxist,communist or social ideas.You go get them Newt,stand up for the John and Jane Does in America. Take care
Left by southernpatriot on Jan 27, 2012 3:21 PM

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

Rick Santorum 2012
Left by JESUS is the only answere on Jan 27, 2012 8:17 PM

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

The present leadership of the GOP feels uncomforta­ble with both Romney and Gingrich and both candidates know it. According to certain Washington insiders' the GOP is hoping for a saviour of sorts to rally the Party together because as it presently stands...i ­t just isn't going to happen
Left by quirky on Jan 27, 2012 8:18 PM

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

Florida will have to decide by merit of truth. The truth about Romney will hurt even worse in the White House if Romney is running the show. Gingrich isn't going for the jugular really because he's really just wanting to get the country back on track.You do it. You go for the jugular. Is Romney the candidate you want as you look at his bank accounts? or as you look at Gingrich for not "taking him out" and giving you a thrill ride.
Left by punkinman on Jan 28, 2012 12:04 AM

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

Yes, it says a lot that the Republican­s are attacking Gingrich with everybody who knew and worked with him. And yes, it says a lot that rather than address the particular charges, Gingrich tries to make it about the person who asked the question.
Left by shabach on Jan 30, 2012 3:45 AM

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

Dag gum they sure show they are the party of love and respect for their fellow man now don't they. Gives you a feeling of warmness knowing that one of these kind hearted men could soon be the President of the United States.
Left by shabach on Jan 30, 2012 3:46 AM

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

With regards to Gingrich and a "truce": It was ROMNEY who told Gingrich to stick to the issues and not get personal .....and Romney had some gall to say that cause ALL Romney ever does is get personal....viciously attacking Newt and much of it has been proven false...LIES!.....So, Gingrich turned to Romney and said he'd be happy to have a truce on attacking each other and sticking to issues. I SINCERELY DOUBT THAT ROMNEY IS CHRISTIAN ENOUGH TO STOP PERSONAL ATTACKS AND STAY ON ISSUES CAUSE HE LIKES TO USE HIS MONEY TO PAY FOR ADS THAT DEMONIZE HIS OPPONENT TO KEEP HIM ON THE CONSTANT DEFENSE AND NOT BE ABLE TO DISCUSS ISSUES. ROMNEY IS SICKENING!
Left by abbaslilgirl on Jan 31, 2012 3:19 AM

# RE: Brody File Debate Analysis: The Gingrich Dilemma

I would never vote for a person who believed something other than the Bible. I would never vote for a Mormon. I just might not vote for president this year.
Left by Praise on Jan 31, 2012 2:34 PM