Rush Limbaugh accuses Newt of “going Perot”:
GINGRICH: My goal in New Hampshire is to have done well enough — which I think we already have, frankly. Uh, if you look at the energy level we have, you look at the size of our crowds, you look at the level of news coverage, we’re doing just fine. My real goal was to make sure that Romney did not win here by a big enough margin to develop real momentum.
RUSH: All right. So that’s it: My purpose here is Romney. I’ve taken out Romney. You can almost say that Newt is going Perot. . . .
I just heard Kirsten Powers say he’s acting out of his emotions or malice not rational self-interest. I don’t think that is true. I think Gingrich correctly inferred that if something big did not change, Romney would be the nominee. He has to take out Romney in South Carolina to have a chance of winning.
Yes, it will hurt Newt, and someone else (Santorum?) may benefit from the negatives attacks. But without this attack, Gingrich reasoned, Romney would win.
I suspect if an anti-Romney challengers emerges as successful, Newt figures he will get some of the glory with the base for “taking out” Romney even if he doesn’t himself win the nomination.
He’s a very strategic and smart man. (Not saying I’m approving, just analyzing.)