Meet The New Newt
A mature front-runner retires to Florida.
TAMPA, Florida— The debut Monday night of a determinedly "mature" Newt Gingrich marks the beginning, aides say, of a new strategy for the new front-runner.
The “Angry Newt” who won the South Carolina debate is taking a backseat to a new, more presidential — and more sedate — Gingrich in Florida.
Up in the polls, Gingrich exuded confidence in tonight’s debate, absorbing Romney’s attacks rather than responding to them.
“Gee, this is not what people are looking for in their president,” Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said of Romney’s attacks. “This is your annoying seven year old brother nagging you the entire time, or you can have someone who is actually mature, who is actually a veteran in a policy sense, who has been there before — knows how to lead, knows how to build a coalition. And that guy is over there nagging and pulling on your coat sleeves.”
Gingrich’s Florida director, former Marco Rubio campaign manager Jose Mallea, told BuzzFeed that Florida is more about appearing presidential than attacking the other candidates — contrasting it with the earlier primary states.
“Florida is the big leagues,” he said. “You go from AA ball where you are swinging at 80 mile and hour pitches to the major leagues where they are pitching 95 and 100 and you better be ready to swing.”
Hammond said this was not a return to the “unilaterally disarmed” Gingrich that collapsed in Iowa amid an unrelenting barrage of negative ads.
“With Governor Romney we have established who is the conservative in the race and who is the moderate,” he explained. “Mitt Romney is going to have to carry that label for the rest of the campaign.”