TAMPA, Fla. – The zinger to remember from this Newt Gingrich rally: An attack on Mitt Romney.
It used to be pious baloney, but now it’s just desparate baloney. Perhaps he’ll be able to open a delicatessan.This was the only new line, made on the plaza outside Revival Ministries’s River Church in the Tampa suburbs. It was a smallish rally of 150 or 200 people, despite the star power of the man who won South Carolina and his biggest Florida endorser, Bill McCollum. But the voters I talked to, having watched Newt debate, were absolutely committed to him.
Gingrich’s other new line was unplanned. Five minutes into his speech, as he compared the electability of a “Reagan conservative” (i.e., him) to that of some wimpy moderate, a heckler started yelling: “You’re not a Reagan conservative! You’re not a Reagan conservative!” “I’m not a Reagan conservative?” said Gingrich. “Did you know Ronald Reagan? In 1980, I was campaigning for him and in 1981 I helped pass his program.” She yelled, and he moved on, saved by chants of “Newt” and similar-sounding boos for the heckler. “It’s okay,” said Gingrich, “she’s made her case. Mitt’s allowed to have two people out of this number. I mean, I’d feel really good if that was the margin in the primary.”