The PJ Tatler

Romney Wins Nevada; Gingrich Fights for Second (Updates: Gingrich to Lay Out New Strategy)

It’s no surprise that Mitt Romney won Nevada’s caucuses, but there’s some surprise that it looks like Newt Gingrich will take second. Ron Paul has targeted caucus states like Nevada, where his organizational strengths tend to make his candidacy stronger than in primary states.

More to come.

Update: CBS’ entrance poll numbers say what pretty much everyone expected: Defeating Obama is at the top of Nevada voters’ checklists.

Here’s Fox’s results page. According to Fox, Gingrich is gaining some distance on Paul, but not really on Romney. A solid second might help Gingrich as a surprisingly positive result for him. Santorum will have a difficult time spinning Nevada positively. He didn’t compete there, but that’s one more sign of his lack of organizational strength.

Update: Newt Gingrich, according to Business Insider, will lay out a new strategy in his remarks tonight. This strategy will keep him in the race until summer.

The plan is set to be the subject of Gingrich’s 8 p.m. press conference at The Venetian hotel here tonight. The former Speaker is also expected to announce a return to a positive campaign message. Two weeks of bloody interparty battle had visibly rattled Gingrich, so it is unsurprising that he is calling for an end to the mudslinging.

Perhaps because the mudslinging hasn’t worked as well for Gingrich as it has for Romney.

Update: The Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston says Romney will pick up big numbers in Clark County, Nevada’s most populous county by far. So if Ralson is correct, the lead Romney currently has, which is about 17 points, will grow.

Update: In terms of imagery alone, Romney and Gingrich offered quite a striking contrast tonight. Romney delivered a strong speech to a buoyant and cheering crowd that included shots at Obama’s record and a new nod to religious freedom. That’s obviously a response to the Obama administration’s decisions forcing religious institutions to cover items that violate their beliefs.

Newt Gingrich followed up with a press conference, delayed a couple of times and delivered before a quiet room, and kicked off his remarks by saying that he is a presidential candidate and will remain one. His remarks were almost entirely negative, and focused on Mitt Romney. He repeatedly criticized Romney as a former “pro abortion, pro gun control” candidate whom Soros has no problem with and dishonestly used Romney’s “I’m not concerned about the very poor” remark. He challenged Romney to debates. He seemed hollowed out, but trying mightily to maintain his relevance.

Update: Well, that was weird. The Gingrich presser was supposed to be about announcing a new strategy and being positive, but it came off as sharply negative and more than a little bit off. Gingrich even criticized Romney for firing his debate coach. Once Gingrich opened the forum up to press questions, several of the questions posed to him were somewhat hostile to or at least dubious of Gingrich’s statement. He took the opportunity to battle with the reporters, to the extent that I started to suspect that he called the press conference for the express purpose of getting into fights with the media.

After about 20 minutes, Gingrich wrapped up the conference, only to allow himself to get called back to the mic to weigh in on the Super Bowl. He’s a Giants man. So there’s that, I guess. A press conference with an encore.