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An Angry Newt Could Hurt Romney

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Newt came out there and he's mad. Newt is ticked off.  He is livid over the negative ads that Romney ran. Well, Romney's PAC ran against him in Iowa.  And it's true, it's safe to say that Romney's ads took Newt out.  Newt was at the top of the heap going into Iowa.  Those ads worked.  They took the bottom right out. Newt's foundation just plummeted.  And Newt is angry about it, and it came across that he was angry.  And some people say that that's not good, and Snerdley said, "It's not, it's not good. You're supposed to be ebullient and optimistic and positive and so forth.  You're not supposed to get mad out there on the campaign trail. It shows intemperance, lack of judgment," so forth and so on. 

But let me tell you how this is gonna manifest itself.  Newt's not getting out.  He's in this to destroy Romney now.  Newt may be more motivated to destroy Romney than to even win this.  Now, who does that benefit?  Santorum, who's gonna be sitting out over there on the other side, you know, doing the Mr. Clean routine.  Newt's already got a full-page ad in the Union Leader comparing himself to Romney.  And Bachmann's gotten out, and Bachmann was one of Romney's chief agitators for a while.  Then she backed off hoping, people theorized, that she might be positioning herself to be picked as the veep.  But now it's possible that Romney might have to endure Newt going for the jugular in these debates. There's a Saturday night debate coming up, right?  I think there's a debate Saturday night, and Newt is going to be loaded for bear.  The gloves are coming off.  So Newt will do to Romney, will try to do to Romney what Bachmann did to Pawlenty and to Newt.  You know, she was a thorn in Newt's side.  She wouldn't let go of it.  Newt didn't get mad at her so much, but he got mad at Romney 'cause of the ads.  Newt's motivated now. 

Now, Snerdley, you can sit in there and say this is unbecoming to be mad, but I'm telling you: Newt is motivated now. Who cares about...? He is motivated to ruin it for Romney, and as such if Newt can be -- and I'm not saying he can. I'm just giving my own little bit of dime store analysis here. If Newt can be the guy to really make the case against Romney... Nobody has tried, folks. Romney has not been attacked. We have noted this throughout. The media hasn't attacked Romney; the establishment hasn't attacked Romney. Nobody has, and now Newt can't wait. It's personal. (interruption) I don't know if it'll backfire or not. Who knows? This is the thing! We don't know what's gonna happen with this. Backfire? How can it backfire?

Newt plummeted to, what, fourth place from leading the thing? It's already backfired. What's he got to lose? And there might be a huge upside here. Because nobody has really taken it to Romney. So if Newt can be the first person to make a case against Romney, a credible case against Romney, then Santorum is positioned out there to perhaps take advantage. The conventional wisdom on Santorum is, "What a joke! This guy can't win anything beyond Iowa. He's an extreme pro-lifer," and, in fact, folks, the Libertarians -- this from conservative media, these two headlines. "Rick Santorum's a Big Government Conservative. He'd Be a Disaster in the White House." That's James Delingpole in the UK Telegraph, and Delingpole's a conservative.

Then there's Michael Tanner, National Review Online: "Santorum's Big Government Conservatism." So from parts of the conservative media an attack on Santorum now is: "He loves big government! He wants big government to do his bidding. He's not a small government guy." There's a coordinated effort now, there is a mantra: "Santorum, big government guy!" I've undertaken here to learn more details about his economic policy after I heard his speech last night. There were parts of it that intrigued me. So I dug deep today and I've got a pretty good overview of what Santorum's economic policy is. I'll share it with you as the program unfolds, but this is nowhere near over now. This is just getting started.

And the long-desired winnowing of the field is taking place. So the conservative vote is going to be split less -- and Sarah Palin's out there. I don't know if anybody heard this last night, but she's going on, "You know, we better not marginalize Ron Paul's people. This isn't over! I might get back in." She didn't say those words. She didn't say those words, but the door is open; she might get back in. Anything here. But the interesting thing to me is Newt. He's angry and if he can make the case and takes it to Romney, it'll be the first time that's been done. And there's Santorum there to pick up the pieces, and maybe Newt himself. So we might actually have a conservative going after the moderate, which hasn't happened yet in this whole cycle.

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RUSH: There are six or seven debates in January. The big one is South Carolina. This New Hampshire... This is another thing, folks. New Hampshire is gonna be interesting but it's not over after New Hampshire, either; and don't let anybody tell you that it will be just like it wasn't over after Iowa or it wasn't over before Iowa. It's not gonna be over after New Hampshire no matter what happens there, and now... (sigh) By the way, I don't know whether to mention this or not. I'm gonna go ahead and mention it. McCain announced last night -- while Santorum was speaking!

You think the establishment doesn't have it in for conservatives? While Santorum was speaking, McCain announces he's endorsing Romney. Now, that's some personal payback going on. You remember back in '08 Romney and McCain? I mean, everybody hated Romney. Huckabee hated Romney! Romney was running negative ads against people back then. I just got a note, "Rush, does it seem like every election cycle all the other candidates hate Romney?" Yeah, 'cause he's always had more money than they do and he's always been out running negative ads long before they have and it was the same thing in '08, and that's why Huckabee and McCain teamed up against Romney in West Virginia where it really did Romney in.

That led into Florida, with Charlie Crist's endorsement of McCain. But Romney made amends. He spent the next couple of years making amends with the establishment, he went out and campaigned for McCain, so it's payback time now. Here's McCain endorsing Romney. Now, this. Let me put it this way: If I were seeking the Republican nomination for president, there are people whose endorsement I would want and people who I wish would not say anything, and McCain would be one who I would hope wouldn't come out in my favor. That's all I'm saying.

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RUSH:  Now, if I'm Romney -- and I'm not Romney -- but if I am Mitt Romney, I might be a little worried because New Hampshire where I'm scoring big in the preelection polls, is largely irrelevant.  As everybody knows that I, Mitt Romney, have been campaigning there and dropping money there for years, and I have an insurmountable lead in the polls.  So New Hampshire, yeah, I'm gonna win big, but that's expected. 

Rick Perry looks like he's staying in.  Still confusing here.  The tweets are out there.  The way I'm reading, looks like he's staying in this thing.  Which makes me happy, glad he is.  But he might have to begin to consider when to pull the plug in coming weeks.  I hope not.  But money's money and debt is debt.  Michele Bachmann has decided she didn't want to go into debt to stay in this, so she has pulled out.  So if Gingrich stays in, and he is, he's gonna take on the role of Romney's definer.  We were talking about this yesterday.  Newt, I'm telling you, is fed up with being defined by these negative ads.  I just saw a statistic, 80% of all ads run prior to the Hawkeye Cauci in Iowa were personal ads aimed at Newt, the front-runner going in.  Eighty percent of all ads -- I'm gonna double-check the stat.  I see these things on the fly here, so bear with me while we double-check it.  But 80% of all ads were adds aimed at an individual and 80% were aimed at Newt.  The point is there were very few ideas ads.  They were personal ads. 

Gingrich got defined and he's ticked off.  So he stays in.  Now, he probably will take on the role of Romney definer.  Santorum has emerged here as a real threat, and they're taking it seriously because this mantra here that Santorum's big government conservative, folks, don't doubt me on this.  That is the single greatest indication that they're afraid of him and taking him seriously.  Because he's not a big government guy, not in that way.  Romney needs Perry to stay in.  Romney would have been helped if Bachmann had stayed in because Romney needs the conservative vote split.  He needs to split the conservative vote and hope that others will focus on Newt during the debates, not him. 

If they drop out, which now Bachmann has, Newt hangs on, Romney becomes the focal point in the debates now, which hasn't yet happened.  The question then becomes, can Romney put Santorum away?  The question now becomes, what does Santorum have post-Iowa?  Santorum didn't have any money.  Santorum went to every county on the ground.  It's called retail politics.  I hate the term, but that's what it's called, retail politics.  He shook hands in 99 counties.  He went to thousands of whatever, town halls, I don't know how many doughnuts the guy ate.  But whatever, I'm jealous, 'cause he can eat all that food on the campaign trail and still look trim and thin and all that.  At any rate, Romney needed Perry to finish ahead of Newt, and it didn't happen, so Santorum's surge, Newt out for revenge.  There's a new dynamic that Romney is now facing for the first time in this race.

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RUSH:  The Washington Post says that only 40% of the Iowa ads were aimed at Newt.  I have seen a higher figure, like 80%.  Maybe the 80% was ads that were personal against all candidates rather than issue oriented.  Regardless, still a high number, and they worked, as negative ads always do.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Eric in Billings, Montana.  Great to have you on the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Simply a pleasure to visit with you today, Rush.

RUSH:  Thank you, sir.

CALLER:  And I was just commenting on Mr. Gingrich, who last night seemed to have turned his campaign into a revenge mode, and he seems to want to dictate how everyone is gonna run their campaign. You gotta follow Newt's rules or you've done something wrong or he loses his temper, and I just don't think that's a way that's gonna win.  I mean you got a hybrid of a guy that was a failed candidate who demanded everything be positive and then a failed president who thought he was the smartest guy in the room, and I just don't see Gingrich as a big help when he's trying to run a nanny state campaign and that he would be somebody that would cut my government down.  I just don't see that --

RUSH:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold it just a second here.  First question, are you referencing the Newt you saw last night?

CALLER:  Well, kind of all through the thing.  He's been going around demanding that he's gonna make --

RUSH:  Well, you said a bad temper.  Did he look like he was in a foul mood or have a bad temper last night, to you?

CALLER:  I believe that he was in a mode of wanting to get revenge on Romney.

RUSH:  Right.

CALLER:  And when you run a successful campaign or as a successful conservative, you have to take care of attacks on you but you don't sit there and take them personal and go to revenge.  You have an agenda that you follow, and you don't let other people tell you how it's gonna be, but you respond to people --

RUSH:  Let me play devil's advocate with you. 

CALLER:  All right.

RUSH:  Let's be adults here.  Newt is in politics.  Now, anybody in politics ought to know that, A, you're gonna be lied about, and, B, if you are a factor, if you're a threat, that they're gonna run negative ads against you.  So that ought not surprise you, correct?

CALLER:  Correct.

RUSH:  You would think anybody would know this.  So here's a question.  You're Newt Gingrich and you have a very high opinion of yourself, okay?  We know this is true.  And here's this guy Romney with this super PAC, and they're out there and they are telling one lie after another, I mean these were bombs that were being dropped, these were outrageous lies being told about Newt.  If it was you, are you going to sit there, I'm asking you personally, now, Eric, are you gonna sit there, "Well, that's just the game I'm in. That's the league I'm in here, and I have to expect this, and I'm gonna ignore it." Or are you gonna say, "You know what, it's payback time."  What would you do?

CALLER:  Well, I think I've got to the point where my skin is thick enough that I would definitely respond to the attacks, but I wouldn't do it in a personal manner.  You gotta respond and put your ideas out there and, you know, kick him in the knees when his shins are exposed.  Politics isn't a friendly game.  It's a verbal fist fight for the direction of the country.  So you're gonna have to take him on, but you don't get up there and sulk that he didn't follow your campaign rules and sulk that you're the smartest guy in the room and how dare he treat you this way.  That just shows, to me, weakness or --

RUSH:  Well --

CALLER:  -- a grandiose opinion of yourself that --

RUSH:  I know.  What you're saying, I think, Newt is coming off as somebody, "How dare they attack me?  How dare they attack me?"  And you're saying, "Hey, you're in the game, you're gonna be attacked no matter who you are."  George Washington was attacked.  Lincoln was attacked.  So I hear what you're saying.  I do.  But I also know this.  Whether you agree with it or not and whether you think it's wise, I'm just telling you, and I frankly find it interesting. I think, if I'm reading it right, and I could be wrong about this, days will pass and emotions will level off, but what I saw last night told me that Newt is gonna go into New Hampshire and beyond and try to take Romney out every bit as much as Newt is going to try to win it himself.  That's how angry he is.  And from the spectator point of view, folks, what could be better?  From the purely spectator point of view, what could be better?  If it's a NASCAR race Newt is going to intentionally crash his car into Romney's.  After all, why do people go to races?  So I mean it could be a win-win.

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