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

The Grand Finale Florida Debate?



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In the last Morning Jolt of the week . . .

The Last Debate for a Month? Do You Promise?

They say this is the last debate for a month, but . . . what are the odds we would get to spend an entire month’s worth of evenings with our families or other aspects of our lives that have been neglected the past month?

John Nolte of Big Hollywood feels as exhausted as I: “All right, everyone’s hands together in the middle for a ‘Whoa, Thank Heaven There Are No More Debates For A Month!!’”

From Jonah’s comments, it’s easy to wonder if the night revealed that Rick Santorum might still have a shot to establish himself as the preeminent Anti-Mitt candidate in this race: “Santorum just doesn’t have a lot of room to improve until/if Gingrich is out of the way. Romney desperately needed to keep Newt from surging and show some fire. He did that. It was his first solidly good debate performance in a long while. Meanwhile Newt clearly came in winging it without a plan to turn things around. I think when his attempt to turn the tables on Wolf fizzled it hurt him politically and drained him psychologically. He finished well, but sagged for a long time. I would have bet before the debate that Newt was going to re-energize the race tonight and win the Florida primary. Now, I kind of doubt it.”

Robert George, a former employee of Newt Gingrich’s, now writing editorials at the New York Post, concludes, “Santorum won debate big. Romney won NIGHT big — and probably Florida on Tuesday. Newt’s going-after-media-schtick didn’t work.”

Howard Kurtz describes one of Gingrich’s tougher moments, where he perhaps never expected that Romney would actually know the subject well enough to offer such a pointed rejoinder: “After Romney pounced on the former speaker’s $1.6-million contract with Freddie Mac, Gingrich declared that — ‘to our shock’ — he’d discovered that Romney had owned shares of Freddie and Fannie Mae, the federally subsidized mortgage agencies. What’s more, that rich guy had made more than $1 million on the trading. Oh, and he owned some Goldman Sachs, too. Romney coolly responded that these investments had been made by his blind trust, that these were mutual funds, and by the way, you invested in Fannie and Freddie too. You could hear the air escaping from the Newt balloon.”

Romney had a pretty glaring gaffe, too, when he seemed to suggest he had no idea of a particular charge in one of the ads run by his campaign. Alexander Burns of Politico lays it out:

Mitt Romney said at Thursday night’s debate that he was unaware of any ad his campaign was running, attacking Newt Gingrich for having “said Spanish is the language of the ghetto.”

Gingrich insisted that the ad took his words out of context. Romney said he didn’t think he was running any ad of the kind.

“I haven’t seen the ad,” Romney said. “I doubt that’s my ad, but we’ll take a look and find out.”

In fact, it is Romney’s ad — a radio spot with this script, courtesy of the Miami Herald.”

I suppose Mitt might have meant, “Soy Mitt Romney. Estoy postulado para presidente y apruebo este mensaje. Pero yo no comprehendo este mensaje.”

(That translates to, “I’m Mitt Romney, I’m running for president, and I approved this message. But I do not understand this message.” I was quite proud of myself for that Tweet, until somebody pointed out I originally had the wrong form of “understand” for the first person. Sigh.)

By the way, the Gingrich comment cited in that Romney ad:

Gingrich then pivoted to the founding of the colony of Jamestown, “when people who believed their rights came from God first stepped foot on this continent.” They had a “very simple model,” he said: “We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and so they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto,” Gingrich said. “Second . . . we should establish that citizenship requires passing a test on American history in English. And if that’s true, we do not have to print ballots in any language except English.”

As with his recommendation to have urban youth working in schools, it seems Newt Gingrich can have the most well-intended and genuinely constructive ideas of how to help those who need it most, and yet somehow he expresses them in the most counterproductive and alienating ways.

Josh Trevino goes all Kyle Reese on us: “Listen, and understand: Mitt is out there. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it will not stop, ever, until it is nominated.”


Tags: Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum


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