Saturday, November 5, 2011

"In a dozen interviews, the score was Gingrich 12, the rest of the field 0."

So says Byron York in his recap of the Iowa GOP Reagan dinner from Friday night.

(You can watch the video of the speech here.)

York quotes from five of those interviews:
"It was Newt," said Chad Kleppe of Waukee, Iowa. "I think he's the smartest one in the field."

"Gingrich knocked it out of the park," said Earlene Nordstrom of Fort Dodge, Iowa.

"Newt," said Tim Heldt of Johnston. "The energy in the room picked up. It didn't feel like a stump speech."

"He is so good," said Becky Ervin of Urbandale. "I want to see a debate between him and Obama."

"I would have to say Newt Gingrich might have convinced me to caucus for him," said Eric Johansen of Grimes. "I've been undecided up to this point."
As has been the case several other times in Iowa -- most notably this past Tuesday and the Faith & Freedom event a few weeks ago -- Newt got the best applause from the crowd.

York concluded by writing:
If any frontrunners fade -- and given recent experience, that seems likely to happen -- Gingrich seems poised to make real progress toward a place in the top tier.
Politico, in saying Newt got the best reaction "by far," writes:
Before Gingrich, most got polite applause but no loud cheers or standing ovations at the Ronald Reagan Dinner — one of the top events on the local political calendar. From Sen. Chuck Grassley to town mayors, almost every elected Republican official in the state attended, including many of the 99 county chairs whose opinions are respected back home.
They also write:
But, after the event ended, a relatively small number approached to talk [to Santorum] while Gingrich was swarmed by more than 100 well-wishers who wanted a picture with him and his wife Callista.

“A lot of people are probably giving him a second look,” said Steve Scheffler, one of the state’s prominent social conservatives and the state’s Republican National Committeeman, who has not endorsed.

Among them was Mike McInerney, a 21-year-old senior at Drake University who approached Gingrich to ask after the speech to ask how he can help his campaign
The New York-Times:
A crowd gathered around Mr. Gingrich after the speech. Stephen Quist, head of the 800-member college Republicans at Iowa State University, said Mr. Gingrich helped himself “by far the most.”


Craig Williams, a member of the state Republican central committee who said he hadn’t endorsed anyone yet, agreed, saying the former speaker “hit a home run tonight.”
Iowa State Reprensative Josh Byrnes, who walked through the Iowa State Fair with the campaign back in August and who has been talking up Newt in recent weeks, tweeted:
Rick Perry during his speech has sought out Speaker Gingrich's approval twice publicly! Why else other than the fact Gingrich has experience

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