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Gingrich Rides Lucky Streak Into S.C. Primary Gingrich Rides Lucky Streak Into S.C. Primary

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Gingrich Rides Lucky Streak Into S.C. Primary


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich exits after a visit to Children's Hospital in Charleston, S.C., on Friday.(Matt Rourke/AP)

For much of the campaign, until this week really, Mitt Romney’s good fortune has been hailed among his chief assets: a feeble collection of rivals, their inability to disparage him effectively, economic conditions playing to his strengths.

But what about Newt Gingrich? Lost amid Gingrich’s jeremiad Thursday night against those who would question his marital choices was what Gingrich registered as his biggest regret of his campaign: “I would skip the opening three months where I hired regular consultants and tried to figure how to be a normal candidate.”


That’s it? Not excoriating Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan as “social engineering”? Or turning his back on New Hampshire after the Union-Leader buss?

That the former House speaker's regrets boil down to hiring a few consultants, that he’s on the cusp of maybe winning South Carolina after a hellacious pounding—some of his own making—says much about what kind of race it has been, and suggests that perhaps Gingrich is the lucky one after all.

Romney’s camp moved quickly on Friday to tamp down the long-held assumption that South Carolina would crown the former Massachusetts governor the GOP standard-bearer. Now, Romney appears resigned to falling back on what is still a sturdy strategy (See: Obama, Barack, 2008): assiduous courting of down-calendar delegates through a careful and concentrated strategy.


“What I can tell you is, this is a campaign that is gonna go the distance,” Romney said on Friday.

That’s not luck, or if it is, it’s the self-made kind. Expect Romney to trot out more of the self-made talk. Combating the silver-spoon image, he has a strong case to make that he made his own way through hard work. It might be one way for Romney to solve the long-running discomfort he evidently feels about discussing his wealth.

Tomorrow in South Carolina—and, after that, in Florida and perhaps beyond—Romney and Gingrich find out whether it’s better to be lucky or to be good.




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