If all the polls are correct and Romney wins Tuesday’s Florida primary with double digits, he still has a Newt problem.
Which reminds me of the famous statement by Japanese Admiral Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
As we all know, Newt Gingrich has not been sleeping but some believe he is a giant of ideas, and certainly a huge loss in Florida will fill him with terrible resolve.
The last part of this statement is validated today by a Newt campaign memo that says regardless of what happens in Florida, Team Newt believes, “this race is just getting started.” Of course this is terrific news for Obama and terrible news for Romney who can not go into the national convention bleeding and scratched with Newt’s fresh claw marks.
Recently, someone who knows Newt very well, gave me some insight into his personality and how Newt sees the race at this time.
First, Newt is bitterly angry with Romney. He is so incensed that he wants to politically hurt Romney and will do anything he can to prevent Romney from becoming president.
Second, Newt badly wants a brokered convention, and believes he can keep Romney from winning the number of delegates needed.
Third, Newt Gingrich believes Romney should not be president.
So, yes, a Florida loss for Gingrich will indeed fill him with terrible resolve, but there is an opportunity for Romney…. if he acts fast.
On Tuesday night after the Florida primary, Romney, along with some influential party elders who Newt respects, should request a sit down meeting with Newt. The objective of the meeting would be to bury the hatchet and ask Newt to withdraw from the race.
To accomplish this difficult objective Romney, should be prepared to offer Newt an important cabinet post, perhaps something like Secretary of Defense.
Newt needs to be told face to face that this race is not all about him. It is obvious his personal anger towards Romney is getting in the way of what is best for the nation and that is to defeat President Obama. Most GOP insiders agree that the longer this race goes on the more it helps Obama by shortening the time Romney has to make his appeal to the general electorate.
Running against an incumbent is far different than the Obama vs. Hillary battle in 2008. A run against an incumbent requires more time, more funds and more organization and Romney needs all the time he can get…starting now.
So what if Newt does not take the offer?
How about Fox News stepping in and offering him a talk show? That way he can remain an important power player.
What about Romney offering him the VP spot? Most likely, Newt in his current state of anger would not make a good team player, so that option is probably off the table.
Romney, most Republicans believe, is not the perfect candidate but he is slightly leading Obama by one point among registered voters in the latest Gallup poll of swing states. Newt Gingrich on the other hand, loses to Obama by 14 points.
However, the longer Newt’s “Rage against Romney” campaign continues, the greater the negative effect turning more independent voters against both GOP candidates. The Republican Party cannot endure over a protracted period of time the kind of ferocious battle we have seen thus far.
With Obama’s popularity on the rise, Romney needs to make a deal with Newt after Florida and turn his full attention toward convincing the American people that he is ready to be the next president.
Update: In email, longtime Gingrich ally Rick Tyler responds:
Never going to happen.
Newt is ahead. Let Mitt get out.
Tyler is currently running the pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning Our Future.