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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

How Newt Gingrich got his groove



gingrichdebate.jpgRarely in politics does one simple and plausible notion stir so much befuddlement: Newt Gingrich as the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.

Democrats laugh, as if the GOP has lost its collective mind and entered a political suicide pact. The GOP establishment is having a conniption.

"He will destroy our party. He will re-elect Barack Obama and we'll be ruined," former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough said on his Morning Joe show last week.

Gingrich "embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive," columnist George Will wrote.

Rank-and-file Republicans relish the idea of a brilliant, feisty, big-ideas guy taking on President Obama. Having careened from Rick Perry to Herman Cain, they have transformed the former U.S. House speaker from long-shot laughingstock to the man now trouncing Mitt Romney in the key early voting states of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.

"The establishment can't control Newt Gingrich,'' explained David Banther, a conservative 29-year-old Tarpon Springs resident enthusiastically supporting Gingrich now that Cain has suspended his campaign. "He's the first candidate that I can think of, maybe since Ronald Reagan, who has come this far in the polls and can passionately articulate conservatism."

Column here

[Last modified: Sunday, December 11, 2011 10:18am]


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