Newt Gingrich’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week continues to go downhill along with his poll numbers. In two polls out today, which don’t yet reflect Thursday night’s debate, he trails Mitt Romney in Florida by nine points.
He also got yet another rebuke on his immigration rhetoric, this time from former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who won’t endorse a candidate ahead of Tuesday’s primary in the Sunshine State but sure did weigh in today. Robert Costa of National Review reports:
Earlier this week, for example, Gingrich told supporters that Romney hired Crist staffers, and emphasized the significance of this fact. “We discovered last night that Mitt Romney has picked up Charlie Crist’s campaign manager,” Gingrich said. “I thought that told you everything you need to know about this primary.”
“That’s not a serious accusation,” Bush says. “Candidates win elections. I’m not a big Charlie Crist fan, as you recall, but these guys shouldn’t have that moniker attached to them, as if Governor Romney is part of some evil plot. That’s ridiculous.”
Meanwhile Gingrich’s dependency on gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson is landing both patron and recipient in hot water. ABC News reports:
The casino company run by the principal financial backer of Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, Sheldon Adelson, has been under criminal investigation for the last year by the Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission for alleged bribery of foreign officials, according to corporate documents.
In a separate civil lawsuit, a former executive of the company has alleged that Adelson ordered him to keep quiet about sensitive issues at the Sands casinos on the Chinese island of Macau, including the casinos’ alleged “involvement with Chinese organized crime groups, known as Triads, connected to the junket business.” The triads — Chinese organized crime syndicates — are allegedly involved in organizing high stakes gambling junkets for wealthy Chinese travelers.
Gingrich gets tarred by the association and Adelson, who was never a household name before Gingrich made him one, is suddenly getting public scrutiny unlike any he has ever received.
Meanwhile time is running out for Gingrich. Press coverage today is largely about his poor debate on Thursday. That leaves precious few days before Floridians go to the polls (many have already voted absentee or in early voting stations).
If Gingrich should lose Tuesday, he’ll be faced with the argument that he’s never won a race outside a conservative jurisdiction in the Deep South (i.e., his House races, his South Carolina primary win). Moreover, he seems disarmed now, having lost his favorite setting (debates) to whip up the base. He certainly won’t exit the race after Florida, but the trajectory of a nominating contest that twice seemed to be going all his way has been reversed.