So it’s more than a bump. And it’s the darndest thing…media pundits presumably on the same side of the political equation are on opposite sides of the Gingrich calculus.
There’s a tenacity to Newt Gingrich’s hold on the top position right now, in spite of all the armament being fired at him. In spite of what reason tells us should be happening. Although this year, nothing is happening along predictable lines…(and I recall saying that about the Democrats in 2008).
Like it or not, Gingrich is beating Romney in his own back yard, the early primary Romney was supposed to have wrapped up a long time ago.
New Hampshire is supposed to be Mitt Romney turf, but Newt Gingrich was the one with the Granite State magic Monday night.
The former House speaker locked the attention of the 1,000-person overflow crowd at Windham High School here with the serious, controlled manner of a nominee holding a general election town hall.
Classic Gingrich was on full display.
“You will not see me bow to a Saudi king,” he said to deafening applause.
“Tomorrow morning I’ll release a letter to my staff, to any consultants and to any surrogates we have indicating our determination to run a positive campaign,” Gingrich said, in a call for civility at the end of a day when he and Romney had veered sharply to the negative.
Gingrich pledged to “publicly disown” and “urge people not to donate to” any super PAC or group that went negative on his behalf.
But Gingrich remained on the attack, saying that while he’s been consistently positive, he said he doesn’t expect others to be, continuing to cast the campaign as a contest between his candidacy of big, positive ideas, and an opposition which is willing to play dirty to weaken his support.
What is going on here?
A Gingrich staffer said the event — capped off by a mob of fans looking for Gingrich and his wife to sign baseballs and even spiral-bound notebooks, and of course their books — was the former House speaker’s biggest of the campaign cycle so far.
“We’re on a roller coaster for which they do not issue seat belts,” Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said, following the town hall.
It can be a wild ride just to watch the news shows try to analyze these events, with all the spin they throw in. But this was the hairpin turn where no one expected it.
Derek Kittredge, a Rochester, N.H. lawyer who previously supported Herman Cain and Sarah Palin, called Gingrich “the sharpest pencil in the box.”
“Most Americans are really tired of bullet-point politics – they want an adult at the picnic,” he said.
Jack Kimball, a former New Hampshire GOP chairman who recently endorsed Gingrich, said the former House Speaker is gaining ground – rapidly.
“Newt’s really closing the gap here in New Hampshire. This is going to be nip-tuck,” he said.
Meanwhile, it’s interesting that believable analysts claim the Obama team is throwing their influence behind getting Gingrich elected, since they see him as eminently more beatable than Romney. While comedians and media ‘strategists’ on Obama’s backup bench have been ridiculing and excoriating Gingrich as not remotely in touch with modern voters and culture.
This is a free for all, and that’s fine at this point. It engages voters to pay attention to the sharp division between the real opposing sides in this election, the worldview and ideology of the two parties on the size and role of government in America, and the role of America in the world.