Newt Gingrich has a lot going for him this election cycle. He’s a brilliant debater, he breathes fire, and perhaps most importantly, he’s not Mitt Romney.
But if we’ve learned anything from the Republican primaries it’s not to count anyone out. And with still five days before the Florida primary, and more than a month before Super Tuesday, there’s still much more race to be had.
Already, Romney has stepped up his attacks of the former House speaker, and if he hopes to defeat Gingrich, he’s going to have to step it up even further. Here’s where he can start.
While Gingrich's public perception surged in the wake of the South Carolina primary, he still lacks the support of establishment conservatives in Washington.
And the recent barrage of negative news from the bastions of conservative media has seemingly dampened his momentum.
Meanwhile, Romney has captured the endorsements of several influential figures and committee chairs in both houses, including senators John McCain and Orrin Hatch (Senate finance committee), as well as representatives Darrell Issa (House oversight and government reform committee) and Hal Rogers (House appropriations committee).
Gingrich's temperament, on the other hand, has put him on the outs with many on the Hill, and his time as speaker of the House was marred by political infighting and two government shutdowns.
Though this may not help Romney resonate personally with voters, it could lend credence to his claim that he is the only candidate who can get things done in Congress.
Despite the circles Gingrich walked around CNN's John King, questions over his marital infidelity will continue to be raised this election cycle.
And while some have argued that it has little to do with the candidate's political record, if Romney can capitalise on the matter (which he has yet to seriously do) and call out the hypocrisy in the speaker's actions, it could win him some points.
The issue didn't seem to play much in South Carolina, but that may be because Romney passed up on it. The trick for Romney is not to simply call attention to Gingrich's infidelity but to point to it as another in a long string of ethically questionable acts by the speaker. The series of ethics trials while Gingrich was in the House is another.
Oh and by the way, turns out Gingrich may have been stretching the truth a little in his rant against King.
Like Romney's tax returns, Gingrich's reluctance to shed light on his time as a consultant for Freddie Mac can wind up hurting him in the race. The former Speaker spent several years at the mortgage company after he left the House and was paid nearly $1.6 million.
Earlier this week, Gingrich released a copy of his contract with Freddie Mac, but it only covered one year of his time there. Gingrich's involvement with the company could be an effective point of attack for Romney.
Gingrich has floated some eyebrow raising ideas this election campaign. Earlier this week, Gingrich pledged to colonize the moon by the end of his second term.
While bold proposals like this can energize voters (especially in Florida where he made the statement), they can also make candidates look out of touch or too out there.
And this isn't Gingrich's first suggestion to raise a few eyebrows.
For all the criticism Romney has gotten over his wealth, the fact of the matter is his campaign vastly outshines Gingrich's in both funding and infrastructure.
As of September 30, Romney had raised nearly $32.6 million to Gingrich's $2.9 million, according to The New York Times.
Like the support of establishment conservatives, this might not necessarily sway voters, but it can certainly help his case come the long march to November.
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