Newt Gingrich has won praise from all corners for his win in South Carolina, as he appeared to be on the ropes on two occasions so far during the Republican presidential nomination contest. And you can add Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer to the list of those with new respect for the former House speaker.
On Fox News Channel’s coverage of Saturday’s South Carolina primary results, Krauthammer explained that it wasn’t complicated how Gingrich won. He was able to secure the “late deciders.”
“Well, it is an amazing result but it’s not complicated,” Krauthammer said. “Some of these results are very complicated, lots of factors. Here I think it is very simple. What happened was a double-digit lead by Romney collapsed within essentially a week as the late deciders, who were two-thirds of the electorate in this primary, went two-to-one to Newt Gingrich and by 26 points. That’s a huge margin.”
Krauthammer said it wasn’t completely due to a few isolated moments in recent debates when he stood his ground against Fox News Channel’s Juan Williams and CNN’s John King. Romney’s stumbles on his tax returns and his defense of Bain Capital also contributed, he said, along with Gingrich’s defense of conservative ideals.
But as far as the former House speaker’s accomplishment is concerned, Krauthammer likened it to a miracle in the New Testament.
“The viewers know that is spontaneous and unrehearsed because I wasn’t prepared — yes, humility is not my strong suit,” Krauthammer said. “But you know, you got Lazarus, except Lazarus only had to rise once. Gingrich has now risen twice, which makes you think there’s something going on here.”
And because Gingrich has a playbook written to win without a lot of money, it puts the next contest in Florida up for grabs, Krauthammer predicted.
“I think what Newt Gingrich understood is that you don’t have to have the organization,” Krauthammer said. “You don’t have to have the money. But so much of the primary campaigns hinge on debates, if you can have the moments and that’s what he did. He stayed in there doggedly. He didn’t win decisively in the debates in Iowa. He began in New Hampshire. But it was these moments which can change an election and that’s why I think the Florida election is really up for grabs.”