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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Republicans



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In the final Morning Jolt of the week . . .

One year from today, somebody will be taking the oath of office.

The Palmetto State Demolition Derby

Last debate before South Carolina . . . let it all out, fellas.

The debate started with a big bang: “Gingrich was in the hot seat from the start, as CNN’s John King asked him to respond to his second ex-wife’s explosive claim on ABC that he wanted an open marriage so he could keep seeing the woman who later became his third wife, Callista. Gingrich responded with an attack on the messenger. ‘I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that,’ said Gingrich, who dismissed the claims as ‘trash.’ The audience gave Gingrich a standing ovation as he called King’s opening question only two days before the election “as close to despicable as anything I could imagine.’”

I found a particular metaphor from Rick Santorum . . . an intriguing choice of words: “Former Sen. Rick Santorum played aggressor for much of the night, trying to inject himself into what seemed increasingly like a two-way race with little more than a day remaining until the South Carolina polls open on Saturday. He accused Gingrich and Romney of ‘playing footsies with the left’ when it came to health care. Both men rejected the allegations.”

I suppose Gingrich should be thankful Santorum didn’t accuse him of having “an open relationship with liberals like Nancy Pelosi” or some other awful not-so-subtle entendre.

Then there was this underwhelming response from Romney:

In a reflection of the complex political dynamics of the race, first Gingrich and then Santorum challenged Romney over his well-documented switch of position on abortion.

Once a supporter of a woman’s life to choose, he now says he is “pro-life.”

Gingrich didn’t exactly question Romney’s change in position, but he didn’t embrace it, either, saying, “He had an experience in a lab and became pro-life.”

Romney bristled. “I’m not questioned on character or integrity very often. I don’t feel like standing here for that.”

Governor, you’re running for president and hoping for the opportunity to carry the GOP banner against an incumbent Democrat. You’re going to be questioned on character or integrity every hour of every day until November. Get used to it, and get ready to counterpunch. Indignation isn’t going to count for much against the Axelrod attack machine.


Tags: Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum


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