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Newt Takes a Licking, Keeps on Ticking

10:53 AM, Jan 18, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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This morning, the Romney campaign released a web ad and put on a conference call attacking Newt Gingrich. Does their internal polling (and you can be sure they’re tracking nightly in South Carolina) show Gingrich rising? Could be, given these provocative new national numbers from Scott Rasmussen: Romney 30 (up one point from two weeks ago), Gingrich 27 (up 11 points from two weeks ago).

Gingrich Newt

By the way, I know the conservative elites have decided the Bain Capital move was obviously disastrous and that it clearly backfired. Whatever the intellectual merits or lack thereof of the assault, I’m not so sure it was a political mistake. For one thing, take a look at Rasmussen’s new numbers. For another, didn’t the Bain Capital fracas at least give Gingrich a chance to dominate the media coverage and obscure his being trounced by Santorum in Iowa and edged by him in New Hampshire, so he could still position himself as the main alternative to Romney in South Carolina?

There was a moment after Iowa where Santorum appeared to have surged ahead of Gingrich in South Carolina. That now seems not to be the case. I myself recently expressed doubts about Newt’s electability as compared with either Santorum or Romney. But as I also wrote in the same post, “Newt Gingrich should never be underestimated.” Guess not. Somehow, Newt takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

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