Newt got some much needed help from Sarah Palin and Herman Cain, but it has come too late because Newt built his candidacy on a promise built on a premise, both of which have been shattered this past week.
The promise was that he could thrash President Obama in the debates and the premise is that there would be many debates just like the one in which he successfully jammed John King.
Of course Newt’s two bad debates this week (with Thursday’s being especially lousy) blew up the foundation for Newt’s campaign, and while the Speaker and his die-hard supporters want to blame various factors –the crowd, Romney’s claims etc– the average Florida voter got two previews of coming attractions and are judging the Speaker according to what they saw not by what he says they should have seen. Besting one CNN anchor only to be bested by another isn’t a confidence booster, especially when Mitt Romney is pummeling you throughout both of the most recent and relevant showdowns.
I have been saying since South Carolina that Florida will decide the nomination barring a huge misstep by or revelation about its winner. If Romney banks a double-digit win in the one of the handful of absolutely key states to the fall’s election, it would take a miracle for Newt to come back a third time, and as Daniel Webster said of the Constitution, “Miracles do not cluster.” Newt’s already had two.