The Corner

Gingrich: Primary Eve

Nashua, N.H. — With less than 24 hours until voters head to the polls, Newt Gingrich is on a whirlwind tour of the Granite State. At Nashua Country Club this afternoon, I spoke with him as he left a packed Rotary Club reception, and I was struck by his curt response to my questions, and those asked by other reporters. After wrapping his 20-minute “town-hall meeting,” it took him a minute to get to his bus outside. A few handshakes, some smiles, a couple of autographs, and that was it. The lingering, chatty Newt we’ve come to see on the trail was absent.

Gingrich, at least today, is disciplined, focused, and in no mood to opine on the news, including Todd Palin’s endorsement. He brushed off questions about whether the former Alaska governor concurs with her husband. “I’m just thrilled with it,” he told me about Mr. Palin, raising his eyebrows and smiling. And when a regional-television reporter asked him about whether he can “compete in all 50 states,” Gingrich looked back at him, paused, and said, “Sure.” With that, he jumped on his navy-blue bus and disappeared, on to an event at nearby BAE Systems, to be followed by a stop at an American Legion hall, and then another in Manchester.

During his presentation, Gingrich was sharp — and a little playful. At one point, a dapper gentleman asked him a question, and one of the hosts told Gingrich to not worry about the man, who vaguely resembled a certain former Bain executive. That drew a laugh, and Gingrich picked right up on the quip, telling the man that his hair was not “neat enough” to pass as a Mitt Romney lookalike. And the Romney hits kept coming. “Running against Obama, who’s going to have a billion dollars, you better have a really big gap so that when he’s done smearing, attacking, and being negative, people are still clear about what’s at stake,” he said. “I think a Reagan conservative has a dramatically better chance of defeating a left-wing president than a Massachusetts moderate. The closer you get to Obama in your policies, the harder it is to draw a distinction.”

Team Gingrich, for its part, is keeping mum about its expectations. When I asked R. C. Hammond, the campaign spokesman, about his hopes for tomorrow, he was droll. “Do not have any voter fraud,” he said. “Minimal expectations.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular

Elections

The First Debate Showed Why Biden Will Win

Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton, and that will be enough to win him the election this November. This much has been clear since Super Tuesday this year during the Democratic primaries. In 2016, Hillary split several very important states with Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, and those she won, she won without ... Read More
Elections

The First Debate Showed Why Biden Will Win

Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton, and that will be enough to win him the election this November. This much has been clear since Super Tuesday this year during the Democratic primaries. In 2016, Hillary split several very important states with Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday, and those she won, she won without ... Read More

Trump vs. Trump

I don’t wish to discuss the debate because I’m not a masochist. It was a crap crêpe. A turd taco. Fecal flan. The American people could be forgiven for rising as one and declaring to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, “Everyone in this country is now dumber for having listened to you. I award you no points, and ... Read More

Trump vs. Trump

I don’t wish to discuss the debate because I’m not a masochist. It was a crap crêpe. A turd taco. Fecal flan. The American people could be forgiven for rising as one and declaring to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, “Everyone in this country is now dumber for having listened to you. I award you no points, and ... Read More

Let Them Fight!

We need to blow up the traditional presidential-debate formats — not because there was too much mayhem in last night’s contest, but because the mayhem wasn’t constructive enough. The Commission on Presidential Debates is now apparently considering allowing moderators to cut candidates’ mics mid-debate. ... Read More

Let Them Fight!

We need to blow up the traditional presidential-debate formats — not because there was too much mayhem in last night’s contest, but because the mayhem wasn’t constructive enough. The Commission on Presidential Debates is now apparently considering allowing moderators to cut candidates’ mics mid-debate. ... Read More
Elections

Biden Owes the Country More

Tuesday night was a national embarrassment, and both candidates are to blame. Donald Trump came into the evening apparently determined to dominate the discussion, and he did. To some extent, I think it was effective; he certainly came off as the warmer body with more ideas about what America should be and with ... Read More
Elections

Biden Owes the Country More

Tuesday night was a national embarrassment, and both candidates are to blame. Donald Trump came into the evening apparently determined to dominate the discussion, and he did. To some extent, I think it was effective; he certainly came off as the warmer body with more ideas about what America should be and with ... Read More