After a strong performance in Thursday night’s televised debate, Mitt Romney looks like the favourite to win next Tuesday’s Republican primary in Florida.
With fellow front-runner Newt Gingrich winning in South Carolina last weekend, both men needed to do well in the debate to invigorate their campaigns, but it was Romney who triumphed by rounding on Gingrich, who released an advert criticising Romney’s views on immigration.
“Mr. Speaker, I’m not anti-immigrant,” countered Romney. “My father was born in Mexico. My wife’s father was born in Wales. They came to this country. The idea that I’m anti-immigrant is repulsive. Don’t use a term like that. You can say we disagree on certain policies, but to say that enforcing the US law to protect our borders, to welcome people here legally, to expand legal immigration, as I approve, that that’s somehow anti-immigrant is simply the kind of over-the-top rhetoric that has characterized American politics for too long,” he said.
Gingrich is better known for his public speaking skills, but analysts say he lost out on Thursday night. A missed opportunity, as the momentum
from his win in South Carolina appears to be waning.
Romney’s confidence during the debate may be the answer to critics who have so far seen Gingrich as more dynamic.