Not often do you see a candidate clouded in total darkness as was Newt Gingrich in June of this year make a comeback. Gingrich’s arch-nemesis Bill Clinton was dubbed the comback kid in 1992 and now it appears Gingrich may have revived that title.  This summer Gingrich’s lead campaign staff were scurrying to find a new home as they abandoned the ex-Speaker of the House apparently doomed campaign. Imagine how the rats that ran from the sinking Gingrich ship feel now that he finds himself well ahead in Iowa, closing in on Mitt Romney in New Hampshire and holding a commanding lead in South Carolina.

Newt Gingrich

While the political buzzards were circling the Newt Gingrich campaign this summer the 2012 presidential landscape has changed dramatically this fall. Does Mitt Romney wake up each morning look into the mirror and ask “What’s wrong with me?”

Gingrich Looks to New Hampshire

Though the Iowa caucus is less than a month from now, Gingrich’s, pardon the politically incorrect term, “targets,” include the once Romney locked-in New Hampshire primary. Romney’s double-digit lead in the state has steadily shrunk the past month and now with the state’s leading newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, endorsing Gingrich, Romney may be contemplating slitting his wrists. Without New Hampshire Romney is all but done; but the obituary need not yet be written.

Gingrich trails Romney by only 9 percent, according to the latest CNN poll of likely GOP primary voters, with 35 percent supporting Romney while 26 percent support Gingrich. Nine points may not sound like much, but with time quickly dwindling away it may be enough for Romney to hold on. Romney’s greatest fear if he succeeds in New Hampshire would be the drubbing he’s expected to endure in South Carolina. Even if Gingrich fails to win New Hampshire, a close second would be nearly fatal to Romney. Romney needs all the momentum he can get out of New Hampshire and a close victory would suck all the wind out of his sails.

Newt Gingrich’s New Hampshire office has been up and operating for more than a month with consistent growth in campaign staff. Newt has fielded a very strong campaign team in the Granite State and he’s clearly not looking beyond New Hampshire to the South Carolina primary. Gingrich will put on a fierce assault in New Hampshire making it a make or break contest for the former Massachusetts governor.

Romney Feels the Pressure

Romney’s withdrawal from the Newsmax/ION debate, which has been called the Trump Debate because of the business leader’s participation, is being called a fatal mistake by many GOP political gurus. At a time when Romney needs to be compared as much one-on-one with Gingrich he’s ceded the high ground to the former Speaker. Furthermore this coming Monday Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman will hold a “Lincoln-Douglas” style debate that can only serve to drain votes from Mitt Romney. Huntsman has been on a tear in New Hampshire where his efforts can only serve to take votes away from Romney. If Huntsman does well he surely sucks votes from Romney both helping himself and Gingrich. If Gingrich does well Romney also suffers.

A number of people commented on Romney’s tenor and appearance on a Fox News interview with Brett Baer last week. Romney was looking very gray-haired and he wasn’t the smooth unfazed Romney to which we’ve all become accustomed. On several occasions Romney snapped at Baer in a manner not at all like the relaxed Mitt we’ve seen campaigning for the past 4 years. The hair, at least above the temples, quickly went back to its dark brown color at his next appearance, no doubt due to suggestions from his campaign staff, but the attitude change with Gingrich nipping at his heels will be much harder to smooth over.

Inevitable Becomes Questionable

The Obama 2012 campaign had assumed that Romney was the defacto GOP nominee, launching ads targeting Romney’s flip-flops from his Massachusetts’s gubernatorial campaign to his presidential runs in 2008 and this year. Now that Gingrich has emerged as a strong contender the White House has released its Congressional attack dogs on Newt to cover all bases.

Trends are trends and nothing more, but momentum can have a life of its own. While early this fall things were trending in Gingrich’s favor with his debate performances, he now has the big “mo” on his side. With the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire nominating events on the near horizon, the momentum may be difficult if impossible to overcome.