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“He’s Done, It’s Over”

Newt Gingrich tried to stop the fallout from his Meet the Press statements by backing away from them yesterday, but it looks as if this controversy is going to be a fatal blow to his campaign.

“This is a big deal. He’s done. He didn’t have a big chance from the beginning, but now it’s over,” Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News’s Special Report last night. “Calling the Republican plan, which all but the four Republican members of the House endorsed and will be running on, and now will be running on, calling it radical and right-wing social engineering is deadly.”

Krauthammer predicted Gingrich’s comments would be used in attack ads against GOP House members. “I mean, I think every one of these Republican candidates running for the House is going to have a Democratic opponent that is going to have an ad that you can write today. It’s going to start, ‘Even conservative Newt Gingrich, the former leader of the republicans in the house says, “It’s radical,” “It’s social engineering.” ’ ”

As always, Krauthammer goes right to the heart of the matter. In the unlikely event that Gingrich were to recover and appear to have a shot at the nomination, it would only serve to heighten the attacks on House conservatives. Democrats would love nothing more than to play up a divide between Republican members of congress and the GOP presidential field.

Other prominent conservatives also slammed Gingrich yesterday. “First off, it cuts Paul Ryan off at the knees,” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show. “It supports the Obama administration in the lawsuits that 26 states have filed over the mandate. I guess, what? Back in 1993, Newt supported an individual mandate, everybody should buy insurance. I am as befuddled as anyone else is what I’m telling you.”

When both Krauthammer and Limbaugh denounce you, that’s a sign your campaign may be on life support. This may not be the end for Gingrich, but only a week after he launched his bid it sounds like it’s getting pretty close. If there’s a lesson here for other Republican presidential hopefuls, it’s this: avoid attacks on the Paul Ryan budget at all costs.