There is one way in which Newt Gingrich reminds me of Tiger Woods from a few years ago — not everyone likes him, but he sure makes everyone play harder. At last night’s debate, Gingrich was first off the tee and everyone else had to catch him.

Rick Santorum is getting good reviews, but I just see him as becoming the angry man in the race. He has not yet defined himself well enough with voters to avoid defining himself through his attacks against others. Even though he is saying what a lot of people who know Gingrich are saying — that Gingrich is erratic, unreliable and a poor manager — Santorum’s anger doesn’t make a case for Santorum. If you believe what the former senator is saying about Newt, you are as likely to decide to vote for Mitt Romney as you are for Santorum.

No damage was done to Gingrich yesterday by his former wife, and his debate performance was a net plus. Romney is limping, so we are going to learn a lot about Gingrich’s potential from the South Carolina results. The biggest question is, does he have a ceiling above about 33 percent? If he does, he is strong going into Florida; if he doesn’t, then we will know that his savant talent as a public speaker will keep him busy as a surrogate but ultimately won’t make him the GOP nominee.

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