From POLITICO’s Arena:
Mitt Romney went on a warpath this weekend against Newt Gingrich, aiming to put more distance between himself and the former speaker, who currently lags behind in Florida primary polls, the New York Times reports. Romney said Gingrich is making “excuses” for his slipping numbers, saying: “We have a president who has a lot of excuses, and the excuses are over. It’s time to produce. I think for each of us, if we fail somewhere, if we fail in a debate, or we fail to get the support of people, it’s time to look in the mirror.”
Is the new, meaner Mitt Romney the ticket to winning the Florida primary? Or will Gingrich, who recently received the endorsement of Herman Cain, come out swinging?
Rodell Mollineau, President, American Bridge 21st Century
It looks now like Florida will be Romney’s second victory of the primary, meaning that he will finally get back to where he thought he was three weeks ago. But the sudden shift in strategy indicates a short-sightedness that has to call into question his long-term viability as a candidate, to say nothing of whether he is capable of serving as president.
Mitt Romney has tried to convince Republican primary voters that he is the only candidate capable of defeating Barack Obama. The decision to go after the low-hanging fruit that are Newt Gingrich’s shortcomings does nothing to advance that purpose. If anything, it has to be a factor in why his unfavorable ratings have risen dramatically of late. Nobody liked Romney when he was the phony who was trying way too hard to get people to like him; now we see they like him even less as the phony who is bitter and nasty about it. Being seen as the boss who enjoys firing people is not the path to victory.
Instead of playing Whack-a-Newt, the Romney campaign would have been better served handling the release of his tax returns in a manner that at least resembles a competent, professional organization. They botched it so badly that it actually raised more questions than it answered. They might have also tried a little bit of self-research, so that their candidate wasn’t launching attacks against Newt (e.g., Fannie and Freddie) that left him vulnerable to attacks himself – not that American Bridge is complaining about that.