I’ve got to think Monday night’s debate further swelled the groundswell of support for Mitch Daniels. The liveliest part of the debate was at the beginning, when Mitt went after Newt—and Republicans all over America watched with fascinated horror at the thought that these are the two GOP frontrunners. The only spectacle in American politics more off-putting than Newt Gingrich in self-righteous defense mode is Mitt Romney in self-righteous attack mode.A "veteran" GOP leadership aide:
Veteran Republican leadership aide Ron Bonjean said on the record what most of his colleagues would only tell CNN privately.
"Most people on Capitol Hill and in Washington are very nervous about a Gingrich candidacy," he said. "It sends a shiver down a lot of Republican spines."
"You can actually feel the nervousness from Republicans around town that Gingrich could actually bring the craziness back of his speakership from the 1990s. It's everywhere."
"We are not at Defcon 5 yet, but we'll see what happens in Florida," said another one of the worried GOP strategists.NJ Gov. Chris Christie:
If Gingrich does win, veteran GOP strategists tell CNN to expect pressure on Senate Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders to call key GOP donors and ask them not to contribute to Gingrich's campaign.
“Newt Gingrich has embarrassed the party over time. Whether he'll do it again in the future I don't know, but Gov. Romney never has,” Christie said on NBC's “Meet the Press.”Steve Schmidt, former McCain advisor:
[N]ot only are we not moving towards a coalescing of support by the Republican establishment for Newt Gingrich, we're probably moving toward the declaration of war on Newt Gingrich by the Republican establishment. And if Newt Gingrich is able to win the Florida primary, you will see a panic and a meltdown of the Republican establishment that is beyond my ability to articulate in the English language.Henry Barbour, nepotistic political hack:
People will go crazy and you will have this five week period until the Super Tuesday states which is going to be as unpredictable, tumultuous as any period in modern American politics. It will be a remarkable thing to watch should that happen in Florida.
“I like having a Republican speaker of the House,” Barbour cracked, suggesting Gingrich would be a disaster as the GOP nominee. “He puts all our down-ticket candidates at risk.”Brit Hume, Ann Coulter, George Will:
"Believe me, Republicans in Congress will be terrified to run with this man for fear that they will lose the House and the Senate," said Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume. "They will begin to try to do what they can to defeat him."Go Newt!
Also on Fox, conservative commentator Ann Coulter said, "with Newt Gingrich, you throw out the baby and keep the bathwater."
And on "ABC This Week" Sunday, conservative columnist George Will remarked: "All across the country this morning, people are waking up who are running for office as Republicans, from dogcatcher to Senate, and they're saying, 'Good God, Newt Gingrich might be at the top of this ticket."