Mitt Romney vows to make his "closing argument" for the GOP presidential nomination, including drawing some sharp distinctions with new front-runner Newt Gingrich.
Romney has led or been near the top of national public opinion polls this year, only to lose ground to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry., Herman Cain and now Gingrich. They have been viewed as more conservative than Romney, who has drawn the ire of some in the GOP for the health care law he signed as Massachusetts governor.
Newtiechoo has taken a pretty commanding lead in Iowa polling, has pulled ahead in New Hampshire and has a strong lead in South Carolina, all states now critical to a Romney victory. Until now, Mittman had been able to rise above the crowd, confining his direct confrontation to the endless debates.
The two combatants find themselves in similar straits, with similar weapons and similar strengths and weaknesses (save for Newtiechoo's immoral behavior all his life.) This creates a distinct problem for Romney since the "Anyone But Romney" vote is almost three times as big as Romney's poll numbers.
Romney's saving grace is that Gingrich has his own baggage as far as the rank-and-file Teabaggers go. For example, his comments on Paul Ryan's "conservative social engineering" healthcare proposal could not have sat well, nor his flip-flop on an individual health insurance mandate. Both seem to support Obamacare. Both seem to support Romneycare. The debate on the far right will be about the lesser of two weasels.