Just 10 days ago, a victory in Florida seemed a fleeting hope for Mitt Romney after Newt Gingrich humiliated him in South Carolina. And yet he pulled it off, thanks to four developments:
1. Establishment Republicans rallied against Gingrich. "Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself," 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole wrote. "He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice.” Watch New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Majority Leader Tom Delay join the chorus.(Richard A. Bloom)
2. He delivered two solid, feisty debate performances, overshadowing Gingrich who had turned earlier debates into campaign rocket fuel.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
3. He shifted strategy by turning away from attacks on Obama to relentlessly cast Gingrich as an unstable influence-peddler. At a press conference in Tampa on Jan. 23, Romney called Gingrich "highly erratic."(MATT ROURKE/AP)
4. Romney and his allies outspent Gingrich on TV ads by as much as 5-to-1, and 90 percent of those were negative. This advantage may work against him in the fall. Remember, the narrative has been written.