Democrats See GOP Race down to Two Horses
The White House and its allies are starting to turn their sights to Newt Gingrich, invoking his tumultuous history as House speaker to brand him as the “godfather of gridlock,” a testament to his new viability and the sudden realization that he could be President Obama’s Republican opponent.
Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, signed their books on Monday in Manhattan. Democrats say that Mr. Gingrich’s rocky tenure in the House should provide a particularly juicy target.
Democrats have made it clear they have no plans of letting up on Mitt Romney. But they are hoping to help stretch the Republican nominating contest into a longer and bloodier battle — meaning they are eager to define Mr. Gingrich for voters in unflattering terms without necessarily wounding him fatally and assisting Mr. Romney, whom they still view as a formidable general election opponent.
The White House is not conceding that by focusing on Mr. Romney, it aimed its initial attacks at the wrong opponent. But in taking on Mr. Gingrich as well, it is underscoring its determination to play an active role in the opposing party’s primary.
“Look, for the longest time, Gingrich was not really a factor in this race, he was left for dead at the checkout counter at Tiffany’s,” said David Axelrod, a chief adviser to the president’s re-election bid. “Now he is resurgent and he could be the nominee.”