The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier

Friday, January 20, 2012

On the Republican debate last Thursday in Charleston:

The debate was over after three minutes, the Gingrich answer [to John King].

The venue determined how it turned out. If you had a done last night’s debate without an audience, I think it would have been different and probably the verdict would have been — Santorum [would have] come out ahead on points….

When you have what is essentially a studio audience, it has a huge effect. And Gingrich had won the room by the end of the first round. And after that, he had… [the] psychological advantage all the way through.

On Mitt Romney’s reluctance to release his tax returns before April:

Absolutely incomprehensible.


From Fox’s South Carolina election night Coverage, Saturday, January 23, 2012

On the results:

Well, it’s an amazing result, but it’s not complicated. Some of these results are very complicated, lots of factors. Here, I think it is very simple….

The late deciders, who were two thirds of the electorate in this primary, went 2 to 1 to Newt Gingrich, and by 26 points. That’s a huge margin.

It wasn’t only the debates. It was the moments in the debates. Overall, I think they all did well [in the debates]. But it was the moments where Romney stumbled on the question of taxes and Bain Capital…. which showed a real, deep problem: someone who… appears troubled by his own wealth, by his own experience in finance, and doesn’t have that confidence in himself….

Of course Gingrich had the moment in the first debate… [when] he gave a defense of compassionate conservative ideas, of how you deal with the poor… He gave a succinct, rousing explanation of the conservative idea of the dignity of a job in a way that no other candidate had.

And then, of course, he had the debate moment in the debate in CNN where he basically — he did a Reagan in New Hampshire, where [Reagan] said: I paid for this microphone.

That channeled to the electorate the fact that he [Gingrich] would be a guy who could (a) articulate the conservative philosophy and (b) take on opponents without fear. That accounts for this amazing victory.

 On Krauthammer’s having pronounced Gingrich dead in May:

You know, you got Lazarus — except that Lazarus only had to rise once. Gingrich has now risen twice…

I think what Gingrich understood is that you don’t have to have the organization. You don’t have to have the money. That so much of these primary campaigns hinge on debates — if you can have the moments. And that’s what he did.

He stayed in their doggedly. He didn’t win decisively in the debates in Iowa. He began in New Hampshire. But it was these moments which I think can change an election.

It was the defiance in his last answer, in the John King question, that was decisive.

In fact, I think John King, if Gingrich wins the presidency, is going to have a gilded seat in the White House briefing room. It’s going to be an endowed chair, because that, I think, was the moment. That was the Reagan in New Hampshire.

 On the suggestion that Gingrich may “die” yet again:

In the end, we all do. But it’s a question of when.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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