Romney Nicked but not Bloodied in Debate
Rick Santorum scored some telling points against Mitt Romney on abortion and Obamacare, and Newt Gingrich tried to pile on, but at the end of the night, the former Massachusetts governor weathered the attacks with little damage.
The fireworks started early when CNN's John King -- who looked as if he could have used a high colonic during the entire questioning -- asked Gingrich about his ex-wife's claim that the former speaker wanted an "open marriage:"
I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run of for public office and I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that," Gingrich said.
"Every person in here knows personal pain. Every person in here has had someone close to them go through painful things. To take an ex-wife, and make it two days before the primary a sign question in a presidential campaign, is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine," Gingrich said.
I guess that's one way to dispose of the issue although Republican voters may be a little harder to convince.
The night belonged to Gingirch who fended off several feeble attempts by Santorum to paint him as some kind of RINO. Newt may be many things but RINO he is not. Romney responded fairly well to most of the charges directed against him. He stumbled a bit on abortion and Romneycare -- his two Achilles heels as far as issues go. But he smoothly recovered and ended up doing what he came to do which is not screw it up.
Will voters forget about Newt's ex-wife? That's the question for the next 48 hours. No one doubts that conservatives want Gingrich, prefer Gingrich over Romney. But the personal baggage of the former speaker might be too great for even some conservatives to overcome.
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