Will Newt Gingrich Do the GOP More Harm Than Good by Staying in the 2012 Race?
Former Gov. Mitt Romney defeated former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich handily in the Florida primary Tuesday. Romney won 46 percent of the vote, capturing all 50 of Florida’s winner-take-all delegates, while Gingrich trailed in second with 32 percent. Gingrich was hoping to build on the momentum that came with his South Carolina victory in mid-January. What ensued in Florida was a mudbath of Super PAC-backed negative ads and personal attacks between the two candidates. Romney and his allies spent more than $17 million in TV ads in Florida, a vast majority of them negative, and his campaign advisers openly discussed with the press their attack strategy against Gingrich as Romney began to eclipse Gingrich in the lead-up polls. Gingrich, however, is refusing to step down, promising to take this battle all the way up to the Republican convention. Though the nasty campaigning paid off for Romney in Florida, some wonder if the in-fighting between Gingrich and Romney, long thought to be the “inevitable” nominee, is doing the party more harm in the long run as it distracts from the endgame: winning the White House from Barack Obama. Others encourage Gingrich to keep up the fight, as conservatives still appear unsure about the moderate former Massachusetts governor. Here is the Debate Club’s take: