Newt Wins the Open, Santorum Wins the Rest

Newt had another “moment.” He’s setting a new standard for himself. If he doesn’t get a standing ovation at some point in the next debate, we’ll have to say he lost. But I disagree with my colleagues (but agree with Terry below) about Santorum: I thought he was excellent. His manner was calm and serious and he came in tonight with a clear strategy of differentiating himself from Romney and Gingrich and succeeded. On Monday, he seemed just to be flailing around; tonight everything had a point. He hit the bingo word on Gingrich: grandiosity. Gingrich parried pretty effectively, but Santorum’s basic critique is unanswerable because it’s true. Romney feel a little worn down to me, like he just trying to get by now. His answer on the tax returns was, again, lousy. He’s succeeded in convincing anyone paying attention that he must be hiding something, whether he is or not. At this point, you have to favor Gingrich to win South Carolina. Then, it’d be on to Florida, with Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich all having won once.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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