The whuppin’ Mitt Romney took in South Carolina made one thing abundantly clear: The man desperately needs a new rationale for his candidacy. “Electability” doesn’t cut it when your own party starts rejecting you. And in a time of renewed class consciousness, neither does touting yourself as a grand master of private equity. “He can’t run for CEO any more,” writes Michael Walsh at NRO. So what can he run as? If his campaigning in Florida today was any indication, the Romney people have no answer as yet. At a rally in Ormond Beach, Romney went whole-hog negative against Gingrich. “We’re not choosing a talk show host, we’re choosing a leader,” Romney said, while denouncing Gingrich’s “failure” as House speaker and railing about his Freddie Mac lobbying gig. In Tampa, he labeled Gingrich “highly erratic.” Of course, there are millions of miles of bad Gingrich road to use as fodder for attacks. But will going all attack-dog make Romney a more appealing candidate? RedState’s Erick Erickson is—shall we say—dubious: “In other words, Mitt Romney who no one much cares for outside of well paid consultants, lobbyists, and First Class Acela Express Republicans in Washington and New York, is going to drive up his own negatives to make Newt Gingrich more toxic to the base than himself. That’s a winning strategy for the general for sure!” Of course, Romney could be saving his new pitch for tonight’s debate (NBC, 9 p.m. EST). Or maybe there is no Plan B.
So They Say
Daily Meme: Newt Really?
- Bill Schneider: How can the ultimate insider cast himself as Mr. Outsider?
- Ezra Klein: “If Newt Gingrich is not a Washington elite, no one is.”
- Conor Friedersdorf: It’s the GOP establishment’s fault.
- Mark Steyn: Or maybe it’s Romney’s fault.
- Washington Post: Did he win because he’s mean?
- Harold Meyerson: He won by pressing South Carolinians’ racial buttons.
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Poll of the Day
Rasmussen finds that Romney’s 22-point edge over Gingrich in Florida has become a 9-point deficit.