Mitt Romney was the inevitable nominee just ten days ago, but Newt Gingrich appears to be on his way to a victory in South Carolina, extending the race.
Update: Romney concedes to Gingrich in a speech that is largely a rehash of his New Hampshire victory speech. The only difference is a sharper attack on his GOP opponents who have criticized his record at Bain.
He says they (Gingrich) are joining Obama in an “assault on free enterprise.” “Those who pick up the weapons of the left today will find them turned against us tomorrow.”
Romney suggests that “we still have a long way to go,” i.e. the race for the GOP nomination is still on, and much of the news media is giddy about it.
In his speech, Ron Paul referenced SOPA, which now is an example of how the netroots can stop “inevitable” legislation. Paul is the only candidate to have brought up the bill on the stump, when SOPA was still a rather obscure issue.
Gingrich’s speech was an attack on Washington elites, liberal media, and President Obama, the latter of whom he casts as the “most effective food-stamp president in American history” and a “Saul Alinsky radical.”
“It is not that I am a good debater, it is that I articulate the deepest felt values of the American people.”
His tone certainly was designed to tap into voter anger, but with a confidence that doesn’t seem scripted. And he threw out one line designed to show that he will belittle Obama on every point. If he is the nominee, he said that he will challenge Obama to seven, three-hour debates (!), but “I have already conceded he canuse a Teleprompter if he wants to.”
Gingrich’s reference to fighting “anti-religious bigotry” — designed to appeal to Christian conservatives — is going to also make the race about more than the economy, despite Romney’s best effort to laser focus on it.