Our Robert Costa wonders if Romney’s negative ads enraged Gingrich so much that Romney’s top rival now has no other desire than vengeance:
Remember, in Florida, Team Romney didn’t just knock Gingrich; they aired an ad that selectively documented the Georgian’s past. Citing ethics allegations, they tarred Gingrich as a “disgraced” speaker, but they neglected to mention that Gingrich was later exonerated by the IRS.
The Sunshine State slams kept coming. Gingrich’s work for Freddie Mac as a “historian,” enough to sour any Florida homeowner, was complemented by 30-second spots calling Gingrich “chaotic” and “unreliable.” On the stump, Romney called Gingrich a “pinball machine.” At debates he called him an “influence peddler.”
“When attacked, you have to respond,” Romney explained earlier today. “It would be wonderful if campaigns were nothing but positive, but that’s certainly not the reality.”
One can argue whether those actions were “negative” or fair punches in a rough-and-tumble contest. But as the primary moves west and the field remains the same, the consequences of Romney’s Florida brawl are unpredictable.
If Romney isn’t careful, a wounded, bloodied Gingrich may be more dangerous than a slow Gingrich fade.
But the good news is, most good folks on the Right who preferred someone besides Romney took it well:
Baseball Crank: “Imagine a guy who is tall, rich, good-looking, and has no fixed principles. It’s easy if you try.”
Drew M: “This is why I can’t stand Mitt and a lot of his supporters . . . they all whine like a toddler and have the same level of self awareness of one.” He adds, “You Mittheads are in for a rude awakening when the MFM stops carrying your water against Obama. Good luck with all of that.”
Teri Peters: “Hmm. I’ve never seen Mitt tweet out a donate link before. Buying Florida is expensive.”
When Katie Pavlich qualified an earlier observation about Romney cleaning up the Hispanic vote with “no, that last tweet wasn’t an endorsement of Romney,” BlondeAmerican responded, “Sweetie, he hasn’t paid you yet?”
Erick Erickson offered an email from a friend: “The real lesson Romney learned tonight is that he doesn’t need conservatives to put this away.”
I wonder if that friend noticed that Romney won those who consider themselves “somewhat conservative” 52 percent to 32 percent, and only lost the “very conservative” voters by 30 percent to 41 percent. To listen to the “anybody but Mitt” crowd, you would think no one who considers themselves “very conservative” would ever vote for Romney.
“Good Lord, the rank defeatism and hatred for Republicans on Twitter is inspiring,” gasps Jason Whitman.
Yay, team! Group hug! Kuuuuuuuumbaya, my Lord . . . Kuuuuuuuumbaya . . .
Ow. Somebody just stuck a peace-pipe in my eye.