The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Fox news, Hannity, Florida GOP Primary Coverage, 10 PM, January 31, 2012

On Gingrich’s Florida defeat:

What it tells us is how important debates — but not even overall debate moments. The “moments” are what determine these elections.

Look at South Carolina and the Florida result. It’s almost like a controlled experiment. In both, Romney hugely outspends Gingrich. In both, Gingrich gets the $5 million, the first [in South Carolina] from Mr. Adelson, and then in Florida, the second [$5 million] from Mrs. Adelson. Conditions are rather similar. We both have two debates the final week, a Monday and a Thursday.

What happened in South Carolina? Gingrich had the moments in those two debates, the Juan Williams moment and then, of course, John King. And he had a 30-point swing from 20 behind to 10 ahead.

And then in the Florida debates, he [Gingrich] was flat. He was on the defensive. Romney was on the attack, Santorum was strong. And that swung him [Gingrich] all the way back.

It is remarkable how much the debates have had an effect. And whereas you can complain about the money advantage, Romney had the same advantage in South Carolina. It had to do with the moments. The Gingrich campaign lived on debates. It was revived on debates. And now it’s been sinking on debates.

On Romney’s postelection Florida speech:

Romney’s was workman-like… uninspiring. He had a few good lines, but he was the slow, steady… tortoise, hammering on Obama. I thought the wife’s introduction was, as always, the best. She is his best asset.

On Santorum’s postelection speech:

Santorum had a well-explained rationale… basically is the guy who says, I’m the one to rise above the Gingrich- Romney food fight. I’m the one who’s the true conservative. I’m the one who’s not going to be — end up to be — the issue in the campaign, implying that, of course, Gingrich and Romney would….

Santorum’s got an opening in Missouri in a week. It doesn’t have any delegates, but Gingrich is not on the ballot. That’s his one chance to go up against Romney in an important state… the most representative of the whole country, Missouri. And he’s now ahead. If he beats Romney one on one, essentially, in Missouri, I think he stakes a claim as the guy who could be the anti- Romney.

On Gingrich’s postelection speech:

And then you’ve got Gingrich, who I thought gave the most interesting and the best speech of the night. I mean, he was so good on his feet….

The first part was positioning himself… He went after elite media, the Washington establishment, Wall Street. He’s the guerrilla, he’s the insurgent.

And then he had this very effective part on substance, when he pushed all the buttons: Keystone, meaning Obama and energy. He talked about the czars, implying, you know, Obama executive overreach, the arrogance of this administration. He talked about the war on the Catholic church, which I think is an issue that’s going to be extremely important. It has to do with the regulations in Obamacare.

On Gingrich’s one wrong note:

But then, of course, as always, he had one sour note. And that was, I thought, at the end, where he said: “I pledge my life, my fortune and my sacred honor” — of course, quoting the last line of the Declaration of Independence. But the people who signed that document, whose names were under it, had they not succeed, they would have been hanged. If Newt doesn’t succeed, he returns to K Street.

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


The Latest