There were rumors flying around the blogosphere on Saturday night as the Nevada caucus returns were being tabulated that Newt Gingrich would use his press conference to adopt a new, more positive strategy going forward. But after watching Gingrich’s bizarre 11 pm presser, it would appear that the new positive Newt bears a strange resemblance to the old nasty Newt. Gingrich spent most of his session with the press venting his bitterness at Mitt Romney. While vowing to continue his presidential campaign, the main focus of his remarks was not his differences with President Obama but the anger he feels toward the GOP frontrunner.
As he did after losing in Florida, Gingrich again failed to congratulate Romney for winning in Nevada. But, if anything, his rage about being beaten in the pre-Florida primary debates has only grown. Calling Romney a liar, Gingrich piled on the abuse, trying to link him to leftist financier George Soros. Listening to Gingrich, it was clear his campaign was being driven as much by his animus for Romney as it was by his own burning ambition for the presidency. But the question for Gingrich’s main financial backers today has to be whether they are interested in continuing to subsidize an effort that seems more focused on damaging the likely Republican standard bearer than on beating the incumbent.
Coming from a man who has spent most of his career demonizing his foes on both sides on the aisle, his whining about Romney’s negativity is, at best, hypocritical. It also undermines his chance of gaining ground in a race where he seems unlikely to have a chance to win a state until Super Tuesday in March. Gingrich has soared at times when he has been able to speak up for conservative values and express the beliefs of grass roots Republicans.
Many Republicans are still unsure about Romney and feel he is not a true conservative. But one of the biggest problems for Gingrich these days is that his hatred for Romney seems to be driving his candidacy more than anything else. Nor is it likely he can continue to raise the money he needs to carry on if he pursues a sore loser scenario whose only real goal seems to be to cripple Romney. In his victory speech in Nevada, Romney ignored his GOP rivals and concentrated his fire on President Obama. If Gingrich’s main financial backer Sheldon Adelson’s priority is to beat Obama in November, this might be the time to pull the plug on a Gingrich kamikaze mission aimed primarily at the all but inevitable nominee.