Mitt Romney is still favored to win the Florida Republican primary, but could lose the election to Newt Gingrich if he continues to struggle as he did in South Carolina, says former CBS News anchor Dan Rather.
"Newt Gingrich has the momentum," Rather said Monday night in an interview with CNN
. "There's a song from some light opera, 'Hearts can inspire other hearts with their fire,' And Gingrich has the fire. If he can keep that momentum going in Florida, then we'll have a real race here.
"The Republican nomination can go deep into the spring and perhaps even to the convention itself."
Rather says that Romney is limping in to Florida, but he still holds a slight edge that can be lost to the determined Gingrich.
Rather, who was managing editor for CBS News before retiring from the network, said he expected the Florida campaign to be "ugly enough to choke a vulture." He said the predominant issue is the economy and, in particular, jobs and the path each party thinks is the correct way to a rebound.
Romney must do these things to win Florida, Rather said:
-- Have two good debates;
-- Really rip into Gingrich;
-- Show he can relate to crowds and voters.
Rather called President Barack Obama "a slight underdog" at this time, mainly because of the economy and other mistakes.
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