It looks like Newt could have a big win tonight and the ingredients remind me a little of New Hampshire in 2000: McCain bonded with New Hampshire on the basis of his performance in town hall meetings that were rollicking affairs–combative, different, and fun; Newt has done a version of the same thing in the debates. McCain benefited from a complacent frontrunner; Newt has as well. The size of McCain’s win stunned everyone; we’ll see if Newt achieves the same thing tonight, but it’s certainly possible. McCain’s win was ultimately blunted in the next state, which wasn’t as naturally favorable to him; in that respect, the Romney campaign has to hope that Florida 2012 is to Newt what South Carolina 2000 was to McCain.
by Rich Lowry