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Cain’s exit puts spotlight, target on Gingrich
Rivals struggle in Iowa polls
Question of the Day
With Herman Cain suspending his campaign over the weekend, the spotlight in the GOP presidential field is now focused squarely on Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House whose surprise front-runner status has made him the target of rivals and critics less than a month before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
The stakes spiked after Mr. Cain announced Saturday that he would suspend his campaign after a spate of charges of sexual impropriety. The announcement left his pool of supporters up for grabs at a crucial point in the GOP presidential competition.
A Des Moines Register poll shows Mr. Gingrich is now the choice of 25 percent of likely Republican voters in Iowa, followed by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 18 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 16 percent.
Mr. Gingrich’s climb from an afterthought in the presidential race to the front-runner spot in Iowa and a serious contender in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida is making him the target of criticism from opponents - especially those nipping at his heels in the Hawkeye State.
Mr. Paul last week released a campaign commercial that describes the former speaker as a “serial” hypocrite willing to flip-flop on core issues for political gain. The ad specifically took aim at Mr. Gingrich’s stances on climate change and his work on behalf of housing mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, painted Mr. Gingrich on Sunday as yet another lifelong politician at a time when many Americans, particularly GOP primary voters, are wary of Washington insiders.
“He’s been a part of Washington, D.C., for over 30 years. He’s as establishment as you get,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.”
She is now polling in the single digits in Iowa. Her campaign’s success will hinge largely on her performance in the caucuses. The same can be said for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and other candidates who hope Mr. Gingrich’s support will erode in the next four weeks.
In the meantime, the Georgia Republican is expected to come under attack during at least two presidential debates.
Fellow candidates aren’t the only ones taking shots at Mr. Gingrich.
“I’m not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich‘s, having served under him for four years and experienced personally his leadership. I just found his leadership lacking.”
Mr. Coburn did not elaborate on why he was troubled by Mr. Gingrich’s leadership style, but other Republicans have faulted him for not putting conservative social issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage, front and center in the campaign.
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About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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