Romney's Plan B

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

"Mitt Romney is a rich man, but is Mitt Romney's character formed by his wealth? Is Romney a spoiled, cosseted character? Has he been corrupted by ease and luxury? The notion is preposterous. All his life, Romney has been a worker and a grinder. He earned two degrees at Harvard simultaneously (in law and business). He built a business. He's persevered year after year, amid defeat after defeat, to build a political career. Romney's salient quality is not wealth. It is, for better and worse, his tenacious drive—the sort of relentlessness that we associate with striving immigrants, not rich scions."
 

Daily Meme: Newt Really?

 

What We're Writing

Romney’s collapse in South Carolina was a sign of Republicans struggling to defend the 1 percent, writes Steve Erickson. 
Reporting from South Carolina, Jamelle Bouie writes that Gingrich rode a wave of anti-minority, anti-media, and anti-Obama sentiment to victory. 
 

What We're Reading

Ryan Lizza chronicles the death of Obama’s post-partisan dream. 
Wonk out! A statistical guide to Florida politics. 
Rand Paul, meet the TSA. 
Romney aims to hurt Gingrich where it hurts most: his historian cred
As he prepares for his State of the Union response tomorrow night, the Draft Mitch Daniels campaign is off and running. 
Massachusetts Senate candidates Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren pledge to stop third-party attack ads. 
 

Poll of the Day

Rasmussen finds that Romney’s 22-point edge over Gingrich in Florida has become a 9-point deficit. 

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