Casual political observers are probably not aware, but the race for selecting a Republican nominee is in its final stages. While the Iowa caucuses are now only three weeks away, the candidates realistically have only about ten more days left to campaign. That’s because by December 24 – Christmas Eve – most Americans will tune out presidential politics and news in general to focus on family time. The holiday lull will likely continue into the New Year a week later.
With polls showing that Newt Gingrich is now the prohibitive national favorite, as well as the leader in Iowa, South Carolina, Florida and numerous other states with the notable exception of New Hampshire, these final ten days could very well decide who will be the Republican nominee. Mitt’s hands-off approach to Iowa could be his downfall. It worked when his ascendant rivals imploded within a few weeks of taking their leads: Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain.
There is no indication from last weekend’s debate that Gingrich’s momentum is slowing down. Unlike the others Gingrich is a gritty political veteran. If anything Romney took the most damage with his $10,000 bet challenge to Rick Perry – acting as if it were chump change (and it is for a man worth nearly $200 million) – following up with a testy exchange on Monday with a Vietnam War veteran over his opposition to gay marriage. Gingrich is in the driver’s seat and time is running out for Mitt Romney.