Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday that a general election choice between Ron Paul and Barack Obama would be a “very bad choice for America.”
Initially, he said he would not vote for Ron Paul if he were the nominee.
Blitzer switched the topic over to Rep. Paul, which gave Gingrich an opening to bring up the newsletters, arguing that he found it impossible that Rep. Paul would have “no idea what he was making money on, had no idea that it was racist, anti-semitic.” “There will come a moment where people won’t take him as a serious person,” he noted, giving him one compliment: that he “happened to have a good cause” in the fight against the Federal Reserve.
Paul has come under fire for comments that appeared in newsletters he published in the 1980’s and 1990’s. A former staffer recently said that while Ron Paul is not a racist, he knew what the newsletters contained.
Blitzer asked him directly whether he could vote for him, and received a resounding “no.” When Blitzer changed the model to one in which the only choices available would either be Rep. Paul or President Obama. Gingrich paused and replied, “I think you’d have a very hard choice,” detailing his problems with both candidates, and concluding it would be a “very bad choice for America.” So does this mean Gingrich would run a third party campaign against Republican Nominee Paul? Gingrich refused to answer, because “it’s not going to happen.”
When pressed, Gingrich said Paul would not get the nomination, as more people learn about the Texas Congressman’s views on foreign policy.
His remarks echo the sentiments expressed in a Washington Examiner piece by Byron York, who observes that much of Paul’s support comes from Democrats and independents rather than Republicans:
In an analysis accompanying his most recent survey in Iowa, pollster Scott Rasmussen noted, “Romney leads, with Gingrich in second, among those who consider themselves Republicans. Paul has a wide lead among non-Republicans who are likely to participate in the caucus.”
The same is true in New Hampshire. A poll released Monday by the Boston Globe and the University of New Hampshire shows Paul leading among Democrats and independents who plan to vote in the January 10 primary. But among Republicans, Paul is a distant third — 33 points behind leader Mitt Romney.
In South Carolina, “Paul’s support is higher among those who usually don’t vote in GOP primary elections,” notes David Woodard, who runs the Palmetto Poll at Clemson University.
Worse yet, York says that the non-Republicans supporting Paul today probably would not support him in the general election and most Republicans would not be enthusiastic about voting for Paul, either.
“When you ask people which candidate they are least likely to vote for, Ron Paul is pretty high, because most Republicans here really don’t want to vote for him,” Andrew Smith, head of the University of New Hampshire poll, said. “His support is not coming, by and large, from Republican voters.”
Non-Republicans are sure to vote in all three early GOP contests. Iowa requires that caucus participants be registered Republicans, but anyone can show up on caucus night, register, and vote. In New Hampshire, so-called “undeclared” voters of any stripe can participate in the GOP primary. And South Carolina’s GOP contest is open to all. Wherever Paul’s final total, it will reflect lots of non-Republican votes.
Of course, next November’s general election is open, too, and the Republican nominee will needs significant non-GOP support. But if Paul were the nominee, he would likely lose lots of Republicans, along with independents, and all of the Democrats who cast mischief votes on his behalf. Even his own supporters don’t view him as having the best chance to beat Barack Obama.
Nevertheless, Paul supporters are crowing over his apparent surge in Iowa. But it seems that surge is coming primarily from outside the party.
“Without the support of these Democrats and Independents, Paul pulls roughly the same trivial level of support he got in 2008,” Leon H. Wolf wrote at Redstate.
More on Newt Gingrich at lodeplus.com here.
If you like this article, you can follow Joe on Twitter @jnewby1956, visit his Facebook page, or click the Subscribe button to receive email updates when a new article is published.