2012 Campaign

01.21.12

Daily Beast Writers on Newt Gingrich's South Carolina Upset

Coming back from not one but two campaign implosions, Newt surged to beat Mitt Romney in South Carolina by a large margin. Daily Beast contributors on the surprise victory.

Newt Gingrich's Surprise Win in South Carolina Panics Republicans
by Paul Begala

Reactions to Newt Gingrich's stunning and impressive victory in the South Carolina primary form a symphony. First, of course, we hear the cheers of South Carolina Republicans who have chosen their champion. From Ronald Reagan in 1980 through John McCain in 2008, the winner of this primary has always gone on to be the Republican nominee.

Then, of course, we can hear the buttons popping from Newt Gingrich's shirt as his ego swells to Macy's parade size. If you listen carefully, you can hear the soft sobs of Mitt Romney and his consultants, crying in their chocolate milk.

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Don't Blame the Rednecks for Newt's Win
by Michelle Cottle

How ‘bout that Newt!

Pontificating about Saturday night’s results, the political chattering class are already laying the blame/credit for the dramatic Newt surge at the feet of South Carolina’s rowdy, ass-backward, nostalgic-for-the-confederacy rednecks. We are, after all, talking about a state where a Republican and former public official had to apologize a couple of years back for making a crack on Facebook comparing Michelle Obama’s ancestors to a gorilla that had escaped from a local zoo.

But before the rest of the nation gets all uppity about it, keep in mind that Newt’s win is on you, too.

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Newt Gingrich Scores Major Upset in South Carolina Primary
by Howard Kurtz

Eighteen days after the press pack wrote him off for the second time, Newt Gingrich surged to victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, halting the coronation of a suddenly stumbling Mitt Romney.

Buoyed by a pair of strong debate performances, withering attacks on the media and a plea for conservatives to unite behind a single champion, Gingrich won the late deciders 2 to 1 in scrambling the Republican race, instantly transforming himself into Romney’s chief rival.

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Obama Lucks Out Again
by Andrew Romano

In that now-famous video from the Apollo Theater, President Obama is crooning “Let’s Stay Together” to Al Green, the soul legend who first recorded it.

But he might as well have been singing to the Republican Party.

By awarding Newt Gingrich a double-digit victory over Mitt Romney in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, the GOP has done a remarkable thing: it has proven that Obama, one of the most vulnerable incumbents in recent memory, is even luckier than anyone previously imagined. And he was known for being pretty lucky already.

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The Religious Right Falls Short in S.C.
by John Avlon

What happened to the evangelical vote in South Carolina?

Just last week, Rick Santorum received a much-vaunted endorsement representing the collective wisdom of more than 100 conservative evangelical leaders ranging from Tony Perkins to James Dobson to Gary Bauer. Where their benediction fell, their flocks were sure to go—or that was the idea.

But despite a second round of social conservative support for Santorum in the run-up to South Carolina—including pushes from direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie and WorldNetDaily editor and Birther conspiracy theorist Joseph Farrah—Santorum finished a distant third on Saturday.

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Mitt Romney’s Bad Night
by Patricia Murphy

Mitt Romney blew into South Carolina on a New Hampshire tailwind and a Republican field that could do no right. But 10 days, two stumbling debates, and a flubbed tax question later, Romney's presidential fortunes ran into a buzz saw named Newt Gingrich.


The former speaker bulldozed the Palmetto State with ferocious debate performances, including back-to-back smackdowns of reporters who had the gall to ask him about things he has said and done in the past. No matter the substance of the questions (including allegations of a request for open marriage from his second wife), Gingrich's anger struck a chord with Palmetto State Republicans, who have searched all year for a conservative brawler who can take the fight to Barack Obama. In Newt Gingrich, Republicans here have found their man. 


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After South Carolina: the Road Ahead Gets Tougher for Newt Gingrich
by Ben Jacobs

Today was a bad day for Mitt Romney. One week ago, the former Massachusetts governor appeared to be cruising to the GOP nomination. But as grim as tonight’s results tonight appear, with exit polls showing Romney lagged behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in almost every demographic in South Carolina, the path ahead for Romney appears easier. Eight states (and one commonwealth) will select delegates to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa before “Super Tuesday,” and Romney remains heavily favored in many of them.

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Michael Tomasky: Newt’s Fury Triumphs in South Carolina Primary
by Michael Tomasky

Well, this changes things, doesn’t it? Over the long term, it may not change things that much. But for now, Newt Gingrich’s smashing victory over Mitt Romney in South Carolina alters the game dramatically. If you want to remember one key thing from tonight, remember this fact: According to the exit polls, Gingrich trounced Romney among voters when they were asked who can best take on and beat Barack Obama. On that question, 48 percent of voters chose Gingrich, and 39 percent Romney. That crushes Romney’s chief rationale to dust. The schedule and map still favor him, but he is in some serious trouble right now.

The next state to vote is Florida, where Romney leads in the polls. He’s already spent over $1 million there and is mounting a concerted effort to target absentee voters, since many in the Sunshine State vote early. 185,436 votes have already been cast, and there are nearly 300,000 more absentee ballots still outstanding. These voters will be impervious to the sort of last minute momentum shifts that helped Gingrich claim victory in South Carolina.

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What South Carolina Was Thinking
by Mark McKinnon

Hold the coronation.

South Carolina is tough political territory. it is hardball country. I remember when we arrived in South Carolina the day after George W. Bush got whipped by 19 points in New Hampshire in 2000. We met with our local supporters, and it was quickly apparent we were dealing with a different brand of politics. It was clear our local supporters were going to let the dogs off their chains. And boy did they.

South Carolinians don't like elitists. They don't like nice guys. They like candidates who can hang at the bowling alley or the barbecue. And they like fighters.

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Mitt Romney Can Put This Away With a Big Win in Florida
by Rich Galen

Newt Gingrich won in South Carolina. Big.

In the 2000 primary election in New Hampshire, John McCain had a similar win over George W. Bush. Bush media maven Stuart Stevens came into the filing center and said, “This was an old-fashioned ass-kicking.”

One state later, which happened to be South Carolina, Bush soundly defeated McCain and ultimately ended the process on Super Tuesday.

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