Gingrich Wins NH Backing As Romney Plugs Along

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich landed the endorsement of New Hampshire's largest newspaper on Sunday while rival Mitt Romney earned a dismissive wave, potentially resetting the race in the state with the first-in-the-nation primary.

For Gingrich, the former House speaker, the backing builds on his recent rise in the polls and quick work to build a campaign after a disastrous start in the summer. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has a vacation home in the state and has been called a "nearly native son of New Hampshire," absorbed the blow heading into the Jan. 10 vote that's vital to his campaign strategy.

"We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing," The New Hampshire Union Leader said in its front-page editorial, which was as much a promotion of Gingrich as a discreet rebuke of Romney.

"We don't back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers. We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job," the endorsement said.

The Union Leader's editorial telegraphed conservatives' concerns about Romney's shifts on crucial issues of abortion and gay rights were unlikely to fade. Those worries have led Romney to keep Iowa's Jan. 3 caucuses - where conservatives hold great sway - at arm's length.

At the same time, the endorsement boosts Gingrich's conservative credentials. He spent the week defending his immigration policies against accusations that they a form of amnesty. On Monday, Gingrich takes a campaign swing through South Carolina, the South's first primary state.

Even Democrats on Sunday were noting Gingrich's rise.

"He's clearly a smart guy," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. "And look, I give him some credit for not just blowing with the winds on an issue like immigration. That showed some real courage."

Romney, taking a few days' break for the Thanksgiving holiday, has kept focused on a long-term strategy that doesn't lurch from one development to another. Last week, he picked up the backing of Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota conservative, to add to his impressive roster of supporters.

The Union Leader's rejection of Romney wasn't surprising despite his efforts to woo state leaders. The newspaper rejected Romney four years ago in favor of Arizona Sen. John McCain, using front-page columns and editorials to promote McCain and criticize Romney. In the time since, Romney courted publisher Joseph W. McQuaid. Earlier this year Romney and his wife, Ann, had dinner with the McQuaids at the Bedford Village Inn near Manchester, hoping to reset the relationship. It didn't prove enough.

Romney's advisers were quick to point out that Gingrich went into October with more than $1 million in campaign debt. Romney, meanwhile, was sitting on a pile of cash and only last week began running television ads - a luxury Gingrich can't yet afford.

The duo's rivals, meanwhile, tried to gain traction.

Herman Cain on Sunday criticized any immigration proposal that included residency or citizenship but struggled to explain how he would deal with the millions of people estimated to be currently living illegally in the United States.

Cain, who joined the race to great fanfare, has seen his luster fade as his seemed to have trouble articulating the nuances of his policy positions. For instance, he was unable to explain the difference between "targeted identification," which he says would determine common characteristics of people who want to harm the United States, and racial profiling.

At the same time, Cain acknowledged that accusations that he sexually harassed several women during his days running the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s have pulled him from among the front-runners. He has flatly denied the allegations repeatedly.

"Well, obviously false accusations and confusion about some of my positions has contributed" to his fall in the polls, Cain said.

While Romney enjoys solid support in national polls, many Republicans have shifted from candidate to candidate in search of an alternative to Romney. That led to the rise - and fall - of potential challengers such as Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Romney enjoys solid leads in New Hampshire polls, too. A poll released last week showed him with 42 percent support among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire. Gingrich followed with 15 percent in the WMUR-University of New Hampshire Granite State poll.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas posted 12 percent support and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman found 8 percent support in that survey.

Those numbers could shift based on the backing of The Union Leader, a newspaper that proudly works to influence elections, from school boards to the White House, in the politically savvy state.

Huntsman, President Barack Obama's former ambassador to China, said the endorsement points to how competitive the New Hampshire contest is.

"A month ago for Newt Gingrich to have been in the running to capture The (New Hampshire) Union Leader endorsement would have been unthinkable," Huntsman said in an interview Sunday during a break in campaigning. "I think it reflects, more than anything else, the fluidity, the unpredictability of the race right now."

The endorsement, signed by McQuaid, suggested that New Hampshire's only state-wide newspaper was ready to assert itself again as a player in the GOP primary - even if the newspaper has reservations.

"We don't have to agree with them on every issue," McQuaid wrote in the editorial that ran the width of the front page. "We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear."

Yet with six weeks until the primary, The Union Leader's move could again shuffle the race, further boosting Gingrich and priving a steady stream of criticism against his rivals. In recent weeks, Gingrich has seen a surge in some polls as Republicans focus more closely on deciding which candidate they consider best positioned to take on Obama.

He has also started to put together a strong campaign organization.

In New Hampshire, he brought on respected tea party leader Andrew Hemingway and his team has been contacting almost 1,000 voters each day. Gingrich hasn't begun television advertising and has refused to go negative on his opponents.

The newspaper has a decidedly mixed record of picking candidates. It backed Steve Forbes in 2000 and Pat Buchanan's 1992 and 1996 bids. Neither candidate won the Republican nomination.

Gingrich, who left the House in 1999 under the cloud of an ethics investigation and after disastrous midterm elections for the GOP, has faced skepticism of his personal life. He married to his third wife and acknowledged infidelity during his first marriages.

Even so, voters are giving Gingrich a look - and the timing appears to be ideal for him.

"Romney is a very play-it-safe candidate. He doesn't want to offend everybody or anybody," said Drew Cline, the op-ed editor of The Union Leader. "He wants to be liked. He wants to try to reach out and be very safe, reach out to everybody, bring everybody on board."

That isn't the brand of candidate The Union Leader was looking to back, he said.


You must be logged in to post comments.

Username:
Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by troy on Dec 23, 2011 at 06:23 AM
    .Please,to witn ty 7 Let me start by saying I started watching witn about 20 years ago.After switching from wnct ty 9. In 2008 I was very disappointed in what seemed to be media bias in the coverage of Dr.Ron Paul. Here we are again but this time, to say he is not as news worthy as the others in this race is unforgivable. I truly believe this comes from way over your head on the corporate ladder.Big wigs pulling their strings. Bias can not be denied.To do so only undermines 20 years of credibility once garnished to witn. I'm not mad or being ugly.I am sad,Integrity within news reporters have been diminished. Trust and respect are the most critical relationships between reporters and their audience. After 20 years it almost feels as if your news family becomes apart of my family.Even though Allot do come and go.It's hard to let family go.It is very disturbing to watch all the creditably these people have spent their entire careers trying to build diminish at no fault of their own.They are not choosing to not report Ron Paul's surge in Iowa.It's coming from the top.There is no mention of this huge ground breaking story on your website.It's sad, this movement is real.When it happens there will be no reporters left with any integrity to even document it!Our history will be lost. Nobody seems to get it in this context as I share with you. However real people see the media bias against Ron Paul.That"s all their talking about.The worst of is not even the bias. It is just it is so blatant,in your face.It is a insult. Feels like a insult. Like we are to stupid to see. It is sad in a great many ways! Thank you for your time, Sad in Winterville, Troy Hardee
  • by troy Location: Winterville on Dec 16, 2011 at 01:32 AM
    You have to ask yourself,W­­­hy do our troops support Dr.Paul? How is it he has more support than all others combined? Simple question why? Support your veterans by supporting who they support as commander and chief! What would be so wrong with a Paul / Jones ticket? Ron Paul and Walter B Jones Jr.? We all wish to support the troops by what? A sticker on our bumper of our trucks and cars? Come on people! It is not for me to show you why our troops support who they do. It is up to you to ask yourself or any one of the many of them why do they support whom they do! To think we have to beat Obama, Are you kidding me? Any he or she could beat Obama ! This is a chance to cast a vote with heart and soul! Not just to win but to at the same time gain a victory for us all.Advant­­ages like this year,is only a advantage if we use it in the right way.Get what you can wail the getting is good.This chance will never come around again.They try and shape your vote because they want to cut their loses.Deny them the power to that and just vote your soul and convection! PLEASE
  • by Lavon Location: Goldsboro on Dec 3, 2011 at 11:53 PM
    Wolfgang- Im sorry to tell you but you agree with Snake Oil so your credibility is pretty much shot. Good luck with your poll searching.
  • by Obama Snake Oil co Location: Washington on Dec 3, 2011 at 04:11 AM
    Yep, I have a serious problem with liberals that post nonsensical BS all day. Now, you can help me, get educated on the facts and records of the candidates. Open you eyes to the debt and the economy..unemployment...just the basics here then ask yourself are you prepared to take 4 more years of it? Of course subjectively, if you a a yellowdog it doesn't matter, others made your vote for you. Objectively, if you were a free thinker, you would say NO. But you cannot do this so this post was a waste...Just don't tell your children how you voted since they may shun you for life...And help I need, yes, help get this spending monster out of office...
  • by Anonymous on Dec 2, 2011 at 05:33 PM
    All kidding aside, Obama Snake Oil needs help, Something is seriously wrong with this individual. Barlow please back off.
  • by Rasmussen Reports by Votto on Dec 2, 2011 at 05:54 AM
    Just an interesting article on the Rasmussen Reports that Obama Snake Oil Co is so in love with that I thought that unbiased people would find interesting. http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/rasmussen-polls-were-biased-and-inaccurate-quinnipiac-surveyusa-performed-strongly/ Eat your heart out OSOC
    • reply
      by Wolfgang on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:24 AM in reply to Rasmussen Reports by Votto
      Rasmussen Polls which are the most truthfull & acurate remember Votto their polls reported a Obama win over McCain back in 2008. It is over for our Golfer N Chief the voters he has left are some Blacks & some College kids. He won't even get the Jewish vote in 2012 who always vote democratic. The great experment of voting in a Product of Rev Wrights Church of racial hate Black Muslim as president is over. Get get your Koolaid & crying Kleenex before it runs out in the stores. You can thank Hope N Change he left us with a bill of paying China 79,3 Million Dollars a day. Tweety Bird could beat insane Hussein in a election today
      • reply
        by Votto on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:48 AM in reply to Wolfgang
        Ok OSOC, whatever you say, I provided you with information, you provide me with your same tired rhetoric under a different name, so if obama is a muslim why have more muslim terrorist leaders been killed under his term than the president that actually started the war?
      • reply
        by and... on Dec 20, 2011 at 02:19 AM in reply to Wolfgang
        Too bad snake / wolf that all you can do is cut and paste from your glenn beck fan club news letter. No one listens to you as you cannot even pick a canidate. You have to have others pick for you , what a sheep or sheeps , multiple personalities, one tinfoil hat.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:35 AM in reply to Rasmussen Reports by Votto
      Since when did the NY Times go moderate? Did the world come to an end? Yeah, I go to moveon.org for their analysis of Fox News daily....
    • reply
      by Votto on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:51 AM in reply to Rasmussen Reports by Votto
      pretty pathetic that the only people who agree with your erroneous claims is yourself using other names...wow, go pound sand and cry
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Dec 2, 2011 at 05:20 AM
    ALPO Female, do like the others, pound sand while crying, kick trees and concrete walls, it won't matter how you vote on this matter, really. Slandering Gingrich...we don't care, its anybody but Obama, get it?
    • reply
      by Votto on Dec 2, 2011 at 07:00 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/rasmussen-polls-were-biased-and-inaccurate-quinnipiac-surveyusa-performed-strongly/ Just for you OSOC, bet you will disappear and move on to the next story to troll after you read that. You claim all the liberals up here are lying but it was you that said that abortion was illegal, you that said that Bill sexually assualt Monica, you that said that Jimmy Carter was a nuclear engineer, and you that said that the Rassmussen reports were accurate and unbias...I do believe that makes YOU the liar, not them, sorry
      • reply
        by Votto on Dec 2, 2011 at 07:45 AM in reply to Votto
        You asked for proof for my "lies" and there you have it, i think that the NY Times is a pretty credible source and statistics are provided to back it up, there is also an article in TIME magazine that was published about the bias of your favorite report so if you dont like that one you can find the TIME one online as well :)
        • reply
          by Votto on Dec 2, 2011 at 08:20 AM in reply to Votto
          i think i can hear crickets.........
        • reply
          by Votto on Dec 2, 2011 at 08:43 AM in reply to Votto
          What OSOC cant defend your reports now? Or are you too busy pounding sand and crying, or is it kicking trees and concrete walls, or are you just to busy being owned by someone that looks up the facts? WAH WAH
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:42 AM in reply to Votto
          This from the Wiki regarding Wall Street Journal about NYT; The Journal's editors stress the independence and impartiality of their reporters.[25] In a 2004 study, Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo calculated the ideological bias of 20 media outlets by counting the frequency they cited particular think tanks and comparing that to the frequency that legislators cited the same think tanks. They found that the news reporting of The Journal was the most liberal, more liberal than NPR or The New York Times. The study did not factor in editorials.[37] Mark Liberman criticized the model used to calculate bias in the study and argued that the model unequally affected liberals and conservatives and that "think tank ideology[...]only matters to liberals."[38] Now pick a poll and a source that is reliable, I am not one of those mushbrain kids you are used to dealing with.
        • reply
          by Votto on Dec 2, 2011 at 09:57 AM in reply to Votto
          Alright well Im done here. No point in arguing with you because you have no arguement, the next time I will post will be on the Obama is relected article. See you then OSOC/Wolfgang/Cornell/Drew/Troy/Cindy...the list goes on and on, you have no life if all you do is comment on stories then make up other people to agree with you, they have meds for that...you will hear from me in 2012, cant wait
      • reply
        by ~ALPHA female~ on Dec 2, 2011 at 12:03 PM in reply to Votto
        Hold on Votto, OSOC sounds like he or she is at the daycare. It's calling me names and refering to pounding sand while crying, kick trees and concrete walls. This person can't be bothered with a legitimate post when they must find people to insult and mock. Don't worry, as soon as they find a "catchy" name for you all their logical post will go out the window, and it will turn into elementary school fight. Those crickets are loud, I can hear them in my apartment LOL
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Dec 2, 2011 at 12:27 PM in reply to Votto
        Oh, I post as Lavon, Anonymous, Barlow, Data Man and sometimes....you! I posted from Gallop and Rasmussen, you give me the liberal web sites NYT.....With you eyes closed, while covering your ears and yelling at the same time, the facts are there and you refuse them. Its denial. Now go take your "Riddlin" with a nice big cold glass of koolaid, we get it, you don't.
    • reply
      by ~ALPHA female~ on Dec 2, 2011 at 11:55 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      WOW Obama Snake Oil Co... Things never change! I've been gone from WITN for MONTHS because I, unlike you, have a life. And as soon as I come back, here you come to find me, throwing rocks, and calling names like a child. You haven't matured a bit. You're post are still long winded and empty. Same ole, "Blame Obama rhetoric". And your favorite, "get it" or "do you get it"! It doesn't matter who runs, it doesn't matter how the economy looks now... NO ONE will be Obama! Back to my name, I won't call you out of yours for several reasons. One, because I don't have low self esteem. I can debate you on the issues, I don't have to try to degrade you so that I can feel important. Two, because it's not that serious, there is therapy for that. And lastly... I'm an adult. Grown people don't do that! Hope this helps, get it? Oh, I hope Gingrich is the one that goes up against Obama.. ;)
  • by ~ALPHA female~ on Dec 2, 2011 at 01:36 AM
    Gingrich is a goofy joke. Where are the republicans with their boxes of waffles and pairs of flip-flips with his face on them. I want to buy a couple. This is the same man that loves the Hispanics now. He's promising them amnesty without actually using that "A" word! Looks like the repubs have a liar and a hopey - changey guy on their side too! Welcome to AMexico...
  • by Anonymous on Dec 1, 2011 at 11:26 PM
    Ron Paul!
  • by 40some on Dec 1, 2011 at 02:49 PM
    Ron Paul, getting closer to the top....
WITN

275 E. Arlington Blvd. Greenville, NC 27858 252-439-7777
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 134563163 - witn.com/a?a=134563163
Gray Television, Inc.