Gingrich Out Within A Week?
Newt Gingrich’s campaign manager has drawn a rather emphatic line in the sand:
On Tuesday night, Newt Gingrich promised to continue his campaign to in Alabama, Mississippi and Kansas.
By Wednesday morning, his struggling operation decided to shoot for two-out-of-three.
In the latest sign the former House speaker’s White House bid is on the ropes, it has canceled all travel to Kansas before Saturday’s GOP caucuses there and its spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said Alabama and Mississippi, which vote March 13, are must-wins if Mr. Gingrich is to remain credible.
Consider this exchange between Washington Wire and Mr. Hammond.
Q: Newt said he had to win Georgia to remain a credible candidate. Does he have to win Alabama and Mississippi to remain a credible candidate?
Q: He has to win?
This leads Andrew Sullivan to speculate:
“There doesn’t seem much wriggle room in the quote. So if Santorum wins those states, as he well might, we’re into a three-man race. And it could be an even worse month for Romney than he imagined.”
On the first point, it’s worth noting that candidates make these “must win” comments all the time and end up finding excuses to stay in the race. Gingrich has been running a guerilla operation for a year now, there’s no reason he couldn’t continue if he wanted to, or at least as long as Shelly Adelson lets him. Additionally, it’s not a bad idea for Gingrich to concentrate on Alabama and Mississippi given his success in Georgia.
The second point is debatable as well. Even if Santorum is Romney’s main rival, the delegate math is still in Romney’s favor. Yes, the race will probably go all the way to the end and Romney will be even more damaged but there’s really no realistic possibility that Rick Santorum will ever overtake him, or even be able to force a contested convention.