Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Party pooper? Despite two big losses in his native South, Newt vows to hang until Tampa

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 7:07 AM

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It wasn't a terrible night for Mitt Romney last night. The Republican presidential candidate, who still has a strong lead in the number of delegates required to take the GOP presidential nomination, did win the caucuses in Hawaii and America Samoa. Add in wins in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands over the weekend, and it's apparent that the man absolutely owns the U.S. territory bloc (and Puerto Rico is coming up this Saturday!).

But the high-profile races were in the American South, where Rick Santorum took both Alabama and Mississippi, while Romney finished last in both contests. Not great for Romney, but absolutely lousy for Newt Gingrich, who still has only victories in Georgia and South Carolina and had said last week that both states were "must wins" to boost his struggling candidacy.

But instead of focusing on his poor performance, the former House Speaker chose the opportunity to crack on Romney, saying, "“I emphasize going to Tampa, because one of the things tonight proved is that the elite media’s effort to convince the nation that Mitt Romney is inevitable just collapsed."

No doubt Gingrich will be coming to Tampa in late summer — but the odds that he'll be the man giving the acceptance speech at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30 have just collapsed as well.

The calls for Gingrich to leave the race and give Rick Santorum a better chance to knock off the front-runner in a one-on-one match-up will no doubt increase after last night's elections, but Newt is obviously enjoying himself and will enjoy sticking it to Romney for weeks to come.

If he can afford to do so.

It's obvious that if Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Adelson hadn't been so generous in single-handedly funding Newt's super PAC earlier this campaign season, its doubtful he'd still be in the race. Gingrich's own coffers are pretty bare. The Wall Street Journal reports that according to the most recent records, Gingrich had more than $1.7 million in debt at the end of January.

Meanwhile, I wonder what conservatives think of Matt Drudge's unyielding ardor for Romney. As we've reported before, Drudge is completely betrothed to Romney, but now it's starting to affect his, well, I wouldn't call it reporting, but his aggregating, I guess.

Last night around 6 p.m., Drudge was posting on his website that exit polls showed that Romney had won Mississippi. That's when the polls were still open there! Just something to note for those who rely on the Drudge Report. I'm talking to you, producers of conservative local talk radio shows. I wouldn't want you to make an embarrassing faux pas on the air citing your most trusted source.

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