GIVE NEWT Gingrich credit. He brought his campaign back from near disintegration to front-runner status, and did it the old fashioned way — by just talking. The seemingly endless stream of GOP debates highlighted his gift for argument, debate, and hyperbole, and roused the sentiments of conservatives across the country who have been disappointed in succession by Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry. His lecture series may not have universal appeal, but it helped him win the endorsement of New Hampshire’s largest paper, the Union Leader.
That’s good news for Newt in a state where a strong showing could catapult him to success in South Carolina just 11 days later. It was also good for Joe McQuaid, the publisher of the Union Leader. McQuaid doesn’t appear on TV often, but he spent the week crisply explaining the thinking behind the paper’s nod. With typical candor, the endorsement advertised, “We don’t back candidates based on popularity.’’ True to form, the endorsement has gone to the eventual nominee just three times in 40 years.