Tim Pawlenty Sizes Up Gingrich: ‘Newt Lost His Mojo’ at Florida Debate

Insults, indignation, and somebody’s off to the moon. Tim Pawlenty weighs in on what went wrong with Gingrich.

01.27.12 5:40 AM ET

After all the insults, posturing, righteous indignation, and flashes of genuine anger, the conventional wisdom quickly coalesced around the notion that not much happened during Thursday’s debate to alter the prevailing dynamic in the Florida primary race—that Newt Gingrich has not managed to reach escape velocity, as he might put it, and Mitt Romney might be rocketing toward the moon.

Erstwhile candidate Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who gave up his dream of being president in order to do media conference calls and postdebate spin for Mitt Romney, probably had the most concise review of the word-fight. “I think Mitt kicked butt,” he told the gaggle in the spin room, “and Newt lost his mojo a little bit. He didn’t seem to have that get up and go.”