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A Gingrich drop-out scenario emerges

Newt Gingrich canceled all scheduled appearances in Kansas (which has caucuses on Saturday) to concentrate on Alabama and Mississippi.

As those following the Repub nominating race know, the presence of both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum in the race has become Mitt Romney’s best friend. Gingrich and Santorum both fish for votes mostly in very conservative, Tea Party and evangelical waters.

It’s dangerous to make such assumptions, but if those elements of the Repub primary electorate united behind a single candidate, it could be much harder for Romney to keep winning primaries.

Most of the commentariat calls Santorum the chief challenger and a drumbeat has begun for Gingrich to drop out. Gingrich has generally been very cautious about making any statements about scenarios under which he would drop out before the convention. That may have changed yesterday.

Gingrich canceled all scheduled appearances in Kansas (which has caucuses on Saturday) to concentrate on Alabama and Mississippi, which have primaries on Tuesday. That makes strategic sense. Gingrich, a Georgian, is deemed to have a chance of winning those states. But his chief spokesman R.C. Hammond told the Wall Street Journal — twice — that Gingrich has to win both of those primaries to remain a credible candidate. Here’s the exchange:

Q: Newt said he had to win Georgia to remain a credible candidate. Does he have to win Alabama and Mississippi to remain a credible candidate?

A: Yes.

Q: He has to win?

A: Yes.

Hammond declined to go the next step and state explicitly that Gingrich would drop out if he loses either state, but it’s a little hard to stay in the race if you’ve conceded that you are not a credible candidate to win the nomination.

As Andrew Sullivan put it:

“There doesn’t seem much wriggle room in the Hammond quote. So if Santorum wins those states, as he well might, we’re into a three-man race. And it could be an even worse month for Romney than he imagined.”

Let’s not get carried away. It doesn’t take much wriggle room. But if it’s true (as it seemed a month ago) that a big part of Gingrich’s motivation for staying in the race was to punish Team Romney for the carpet bomb it dropped on Newt’s reputation in the week leading up to the Iowa caucuses, and if he agrees with his friends in the “elite media” that his presence in the race has turned into a key Romney asset, it also makes sense.

Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/08/2012 - 11:25 am.


    Hasn’t Gingrinch heard that the South lost the Civil War?
    He actually has to get votes in the North too now.
    Maybe he’s an ‘alternate historian’.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/08/2012 - 11:32 am.

    It is clear even to the hibernating bears that Gingrich will not win the nomination. At the same time, it hard for me to imagine that Gingrich would not stay in the race in order to maximize his delegates and maximize his negotiating strength at the convention. In fact, is there any reason why Gingrich to bow out other than a selfless consideration of what is best for others? That said (LOL), he’ll stay in–is there any doubt?

    So what will we have?

    A Romney/Gingrich ticket?

    A Santorum/Gingrich ticket?

    Or a Romney/Santorum-Gingrich (alt. years) ticket? Face it, the Republicans have been awfully adept at twisting the Constitution lately.

  3. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 03/08/2012 - 11:32 am.

    I think they could get Gingrich to drop out pretty easily

    Guarantee him a half hour speech at the convention. He’s only in this to hear himself talk.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 03/08/2012 - 03:05 pm.

      He’s already going to get that

      and he’ll bring down the house, as usual.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/08/2012 - 03:55 pm.

        …bring the house down…Is

        …bring the house down…

        Is that in the same sense as Sampson?

        Judges 16-25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.

        When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 03/08/2012 - 07:28 pm.

        Enough of Mr Gingrich. We should be grateful to Mitt Romney for interring him under a mountain of super-PAC cash and pounding the Florida primary through his heart.

  4. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 03/08/2012 - 07:20 pm.

    “Gingrich…(as Churchill said of John Foster Dulles) a bull who carries his own china shop around with him”


  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/08/2012 - 07:58 pm.

    Bringing down the house

    With all due respect to Neal Rovick, and treading cautiously in trying to divine what Mr. Tester might have meant, I nonetheless doubt that he was thinking in an Old Testament context.

    Gingrich might well give the most rousing speech of the convention. He’s certainly a far better orator than either Romney or Santorum. In the end, however, it won’t mean anything of significance. Plenty of people have delivered rousing speeches to political conventions over the years, after which their candidate was beaten and both the speaker and the speech were forgotten. Maybe this will be the opportunity to finally make Mr. Gingrich a historical footnote on a permanent basis.

  6. Submitted by curate carson on 03/08/2012 - 10:13 pm.

    …bring down the house…is?

    …is that in the same sense as Sampson…

    Sampson? Do you mean Samson

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/09/2012 - 07:43 am.

      (quote) The Hebrew spelling


      The Hebrew spelling of Samson’s name is !Avm.v. (Shemshon). While there is some debate over the source of his name, it seems that it is derived from vm,v, (shemesh), which means “sun.” Since the Philistines worshiped the sun as one of their gods (the Mesopotamian god “Samsu” was revered as god of the sun), this seems to be a direct attack on their deity, much in the same way that the plagues in Egypt are attacks on the Egyptian gods of that day. Yet, this does not help us solve the mystery of the “p” in his name.

      The “p” actually arrives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. About 300 years before the birth of Christ, the Hebrews began translating the Bible into Greek. Greek was the “lingua franca” of the day and many Jewish people in the dispersion could no longer read Hebrew well. In addition, the Greek mind likes to engage in dialogue with other schools of thought and such a translation provided a medium for that discussion. This translation is referred to as the “Septuagint” or the “LXX.”

      When the translators of the Book of Judges approached the name of Samson, they transliterated it as follows: Samyw/n (Sampson). This transliteration not only explains how the “Sh” transformed into a “S,” but also explains the importation of the letter “p” into the center of the word. Now, why they opted to use a psi (y) instead of a pi (p) is still clouded by the shadows of history, perhaps it was simply seen as an easier way to pronounce his name—there are a number of names that have been transliterated oddly both in the Septuagint and in our English translations.

      Thus, the next time you happen to slip, and pronounce or spell Samson’s name with a “p,” and someone curtly corrects you, all you have to do is to put on as serious and scholarly a face as you are able and inform them that you simply favor the Greek spelling over the English one. That ought to get them scratching their heads for a while. :8)

      (end quote)

      I’ll have to be honest, I was more influenced by a Liberian friend who uses the “p” in his name.

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/09/2012 - 11:09 am.

    And then

    there’s Ralph,
    who almost pulled Williams Arena down.

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