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It's Newt's Night It's Newt's Night

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It's Newt's Night

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Newt Gingrich: The former House speaker is a familiar face in American politics. During the Clinton administration, he orchestrated the Republican-backed "Contract with America," and is known in Republican circles as an idea man. Gingrich is calling for an extension of current tax rates beyond their 2013 deadline, as well as the elimination of the capital gains tax and the so-called death tax. -PHOTO: AP Images(AP IMAGES)

Presidential candidates usually lay low the day of a debate, but Newt Gingrich spent a lot of time today in the public eye, tailgating at Furman University and opening a campaign office. And why not? Who knows how long this moment will last.

The Gingrich surge has finally arrived, predicted repeatedly and most arduously by Gingrich himself. Two national polls now show him in the top tier. Today he opened his campaign headquarters in South Carolina with nine staffers, the biggest team in the state. And tonight this loquacious, self described "student of history'' and man of the world heads into a debate on foreign policy. Is there anywhere else he'd rather be on a Saturday night?

So when he opened his campaign office in Greenville this afternoon and said he had time for "one or two more (questions), I don't want to keep people here forever,'' anyone who has followed his campaign's trajectory knows he would like to do exactly that. "Any reporter have anything they want to ask?'' asked the man who usually relishes putting the news media in its place.  It was Gingrich's turn to hold court, and if the boom follows the pattern we've seen in this campaign, it will be shortlived.

While Gingrich is peaking, Rick Perry is tanking. Still reeling from his horrible "oops'' moment in Wednesday's debate, the Texas governor now has to walk into another debate. On foreign policy, a topic in which he has little experience. His tweet earlier today of him going running by himself  suggested a "what me, worry?'' attitude, but it also shows him going it alone at a time when Gingrich is finally getting the attention he has craved.

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