Can Newt Gingrich beat Barack Obama next November?
Sure he can.
It's really important to understand this. Whoever the Republican candidate is, that candidate will be subject to what Obama allies say is a "$750 million wrecking ball."
Obama's whole campaign — totaling $1 billion — will be a savage attack on the Republican nominee because Obama can't run on his record and he knows it.
And I believe that, if the Republican candidate sticks to the high road and focuses on Obama's record, the American people will see through the mud and will vote Republican.
At this moment, Newt Gingrich has the ability to accomplish this and poses the greatest threat to Obama.
So far, he has been tested in the crucible of the GOP primary and is weathering the storm well.
One of the things that has amazed me over these past several months is that Newt alone among the GOP candidates has refrained from nasty attacks against his fellow Republican candidates.
Like Reagan, Newt has honored the "11th Commandment" and focused his attacks on the real enemy: Obama's very liberal agenda.
Right now, Republican candidates are spending $10 million or more to besmirch Gingrich. I think such attacks will backfire and Gingrich will continue to rise.
No doubt, this is a serious test for him, but one demonstrating to me he can beat Obama.
For those who think Mitt Romney will be a stronger candidate against Obama, the data just doesn't show it.
According to a Rasmussen poll taken in the past week, voters nationwide are evenly divided over whether Newt or Mitt would give Obama the strongest general election challenge.
When voters of all political stripes were asked who could beat Obama, 30 percent chose Gingrich and 29 percent chose Romney. None of the other GOP candidates came close.
And twice as many Republican voters feel the former House speaker has a better chance beating Obama than Romney; 49 percent preferred Gingrich and just 24 percent Romney.
Gingrich also beats Obama where it matters most: the 12 battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
According to a Dec. 13 USA TODAY/Gallup poll of these must-win swing states, Obama trailed Newt Gingrich by three points, 45 percent to 48 percent. Mitt Romney also beats the president 48 percent to 43 percent, proving Newt is certainly in Mitt’s league.
And Republicans aren't the only ones who think Newt can beat Obama.
Ed Koch, the former New York mayor and influential Democrat, who has endorsed Obama for president, recently warned that Gingrich may turn out to be Obama's worst nightmare.
Koch wrote: "Democrats who are supporters of President Obama and are hoping that he will face Newt Gingrich as the Republican candidate are mistaken in their belief that he will be easy to beat.
"Gingrich is appealing to the anger in this country toward all politicians, particularly those in Congress. The country is looking for a leader, unafraid to tell the truth, and many think that Newt Gingrich is that person."
Ed Koch is right because Newt Gingrich has two qualities none of the other candidates has that will be his trump cards in defeating Obama.
First, he is a brilliant communicator. Unlike Obama, he doesn't need a teleprompter to give a speech.
Second, Newt actually has a leadership record that few Republicans in history can lay claim to.
It was Gingrich in 1994 who led the Republicans to victory — taking back Congress after 50 years of Democratic domination.
Then, he actually delivered. And no, he didn't push "zany" ideas like moon colonies.
He wrote the law that abolished welfare. His leadership led to massive tax cuts, restrained federal spending and the first balanced budgets in decades.
His record is so strong his critics can't argue with it, so they focus on other issues. We keep hearing that Newt's marriages will be an issue as well as his business dealings.
I recall that, in the 1970s, some said Ronald Reagan should be disqualified as a candidate because he had been divorced.
I believe the public understands they don't elect saints, but want leaders who have positive solutions to the economic crisis we face.
To varying degrees, Romney, Perry, Santorum, Paul, and Bachmann offer good answers.
And each will be subjected to the same Obama "wrecking ball" — including Romney and his many Wall Street deals.
But of the Republican candidates only one conservative has demonstrated that he can stand up to Barack Obama in that final television debate — go mano a mano with him — and decisively win.
And that man is Newt.
Posts by Christopher Ruddy
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