Newt Gingrich pulled off an upset victory over Mitt Romney in South Carolina on Friday. Questions about Romney's taxes and investments have him looking like a deer caught in headlights heading into Florida. What's more American than having your millions of dollars invested in a bank in the Caymen Islands with a guy named Jose?
Romney gave a somewhat rambling, noncommittal response in a debate in Myrtle Beach last Monday when asked if he would release his tax returns before the primary. The following day, he told reporters that because most of his earnings come from investments, he paid about 15 percent of his income in taxes, roughly half the rate paid by millions of middle-class wage-earners. A day later, aides confirmed that some of his millions are invested in the Cayman Islands, although they said he did not use the offshore accounts as a tax haven.
Asked again at a debate in North Charleston on Thursday about releasing his taxes, his answer was anything but succinct and the audience appeared to boo.
Gingrich clearly was going after the redneck vote when he referred to President Obama as the "food stamp" President.
Obama is "the most effective food stamp president in history," he said. "I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history." Those declarations and his attack on the "elite news media" reprised two of his more memorable lines from a pair of debates that helped fuel his victory.
Ironically, the polarizing Gingrich is the candidate who would have the toughest time defeating Obama in a one on one election. Will comments like the one above fly with moderate voters? I have to admit, when I first heard him call Obama the food stamp President, the issue of race came to mind. Newt has never been politically correct, but unfortunately for him, he's never been honest, either. Where's the guy from the Gong Show when you need him?
Unfortunately for the GOP, what they need is a charismatic guy like Ronald Reagan. Love him or hate him, Reagan had a way of reaching middle America. I don't see anyone like that in this field.