As promised Newt Gingrich has unleashed a volley of attacks against Mitt Romney in South Carolina. Newt has been joined by Governor Rick Perry, who has called the Romney business practices at Bain “vulture capitalism”. And Newt is not just talking tough politics, he is talking Armaggedon.
“This is going to be Armageddon – they are going to come in here with everything they’ve got, every surrogate, every ad, every negative attack,” Gingrich said. “At the same time we’ll be drawing a sharp contrast between a Georgia Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate who’s pro-gun control, pro-choice, pro-tax increase, pro-liberal judge, and the voters of South Carolina will have to look and decide.”
Gingrich is taking a pretty heavy backlash from the Republican establishment, who are horrified at the thought of Romney being softened up by the Gingrich artillery fire. Gingrich is without question moving towards pariah status, but you have to give him some credit. He is one pissed off candidate, and he is now going to give Romney a taste of his own medicine. I have heard Gingrich respond to some of the complaining, but I have yet to hear him say “this ain’t beanbag”. I am sure that is coming.
So does the assault change the Republican dynamic? I don’t think so, but the first new poll out of South Carolina from Insider Advantage has the Romney lead whittled to the margin of error over Gingrich. Romney comes in at 23%, Gingrich at 21%, Santorum at 14%, Paul at 13%, Huntsman at 7%, and Perry at 5%. Is this a polling anomaly, or are the Gingrich attacks bringing the Romney numbers down? My guess is that the Romney lead is a bit wider, but that Gingrich’s attacks are having a real impact. With millions being thrown into the battle to stop Romney even if he wins he will be substantially marked up. The President continues to raise money, and pick at the Republican divisions, especially over the excesses on Wall Street. This does not look like it is going to end well for the Republicans. Oh well, C’est la vie.