With his upset victory in the South Carolina primary, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is surging as the GOP 2012 pack heads to Florida for the next contest. Many commentators credit Gingrich's electric performance in Thursday's CNN debate for his win. He drew a standing ovation when defending himself against claims from his ex-wife Marianne that he wanted an "open marriage" with her and his mistress Callista (now his wife). His South Carolina win has forced former Gov. Mitt Romney, the long-time front-runner who has struggled to garner the enthusiasm of conservatives, to go on the offensive against the former speaker. Reports Ken Walsh, at a rally in Ormand Beach, Fla., Romney
called Gingrich a failed leader who resigned as House speaker "in disgrace," worked as a lobbyist "selling influence around Washington," and "has not had a record of successful leadership."
Furthermore, Romney supporters are arguing that Gingrich's flaws will cost Republicans the White House come November. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Florida House Rep. Will Weatherford both questioned Gingrich's electability. "The possibility of Newt Gingrich being our nominee against Barack Obama, I think, is essentially handing the election over to Obama if it got to that point," said Pawlenty. Gingrich's ability to beat Obama has long been questioned and was recently discussed in U.S. News's Debate Club.
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