Given that many South Carolina Republicans don’t read the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal for their political news, it is instructive to see what they are seeing.
U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, a Greenville Republican and Tea Party icon, thinks Mitt Romney will win South Carolina.
DeMint, who endorsed the former Massachusetts governor four years ago but is staying on the sidelines this year, said Romney’s victory speech Tuesday after the New Hampshire primary touched on “a lot of hot buttons,” such as balancing the budget.
DeMint also suggested he was turned off by other Republican candidates’ criticism of Romney’s past work as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital. “Frankly, I’m a little concerned about the few Republicans who have criticized some of what I consider free market principles here,” DeMint said.
DeMint said he was concerned that Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, whom he didn’t name, were trashing Romney for his success at Bain. “I certainly don’t like Republicans criticizing one of our own and sounding like Democrats,” DeMint said, repeating later: “It really worries me when some Republicans start sounding like Democrats.”
Likewise, the Daily Gamecock reports:
Joined by Gov. Nikki Haley and State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Romney came to The Hall at Senate’s End Wednesday night to a packed house. Haley introduced Romney by listing the reasons she endorsed him — namely his business background and his plans for government reform. She took a veiled shot at other GOP candidates who criticized Romney’s Bain Capital venture, saying it bothers her when Republicans “talk like Democrats.”
Meanwhile, Gingrich does what he usually does when caught in egregious behavior, in this case accusing Mitt Romney’s company of “looting” businesses: He makes stuff up. Now, he claims he really isn’t attacking capitalism:
A very defensive Newt Gingrich, under fire from all sides for his attacks against Mitt Romney’s experience at Bain Capital, shot back at his critics Thursday morning, insisting that he was going after a “very specific case” involving his rival — not capitalism in general.
“It’s legitimate to ask the question — and this is the whole Wall Street problem — how come the big boys made a lot of money and [others] went broke?” Gingrich said on Fox News. “And that’s not an attack on capitalism. That’s not an issue about the whole capitalist system. That is a question about a very particular style of activity involving a very particular person.”
Saying repeatedly that he wasn’t going after the “system,” the former House speaker said he thought he was perfectly fair to ask questions about a candidate’s “judgment, his values, the choices he made” in a race to be President of the United States.
When you have the National Review editors, Rush Limbaugh, South Carolina’s governor, the Club for Growth and just about every significant voice in conservative media bashing him, you know Gingrich is going to have to start bobbing and weaving.
The problem is that his indictment of Bain has been so sweeping and his accusations so blunt that he hasn’t bothered to figure out what Bain actually did. Instead of facts, he tosses around invective (“looting”). His retreat to criticizing the “style” of Bain sounds like something a spin doctor came up with. The “style” of Bain was to make money for its investors by finding risky businesses, giving them cash, trying to redesign their operations and, in the process, making them successful. That’s an essential part of free market capitalism in America. Once again, Gingrich has trapped himself in his own web of gross distortion and misstatements of fact.
There can be no better evidence of Gingrich’s unfitness to serve than his behavior over the past week. Having attacked Bain earlier in the campaign and then expressing remorse about the attacks, he went back to the well with even more incendiary language, accusing Romney of making money off the misery of others. The guy who told Occupy Wall Street protesters to take a “bath” is now the mouthpiece for David Axelrod and President Obama. The firestorm begins. He bombs in New Hampshire. A slew of negative press hits him. And now he struggles to explain himself. In that, we see all that is wrong with Gingrich: Dishonesty, political cowardice, lack of self-control, ignorance about things he pretends to understand (e.g., private equity markets), hypocrisy (gambling money from his patron Sheldon Adelson is fine, but Bain money is dirty) and maliciousness. I suspect he’s mortally wounded, knows it and will spend the days until the South Carolina primary decrying how his words have been “distorted.”