Mitt and Newt: musings on the eve of a South Carolina primary

Two links tonight, both somewhat serendipitously off the beaten path as it were.

First, Nate Silver at the FiveThirtyEight blog compares Romney’s performance at Thursday’s debate in Charleston to what’s known in football parlance as a “prevent defense.” (Yet another great elections analogy from the one-of-a-kind Mr. Silver!) 

Then, Mr. Silver makes a highly salient point that sort of puts the South Carolina primary into perspective:

“The good news for Mr. Romney is that while voters often like to defy expectations in the early-going, they usually make fairly rational choices in the end. (Let me be bold enough to suggest that Mr. Gingrich, whose favorability rating is just 27 percent in an average of national surveys, does not ultimately have the stronger side of the electability argument.)”

As an ancillary side note, Silver’s poll-based South Carolina projection now gives Gingrich a 64-percent chance of winning on Saturday, and Romney a 36-percent likelihood.

Secondly, by now we trust you’re familiar with the accusations that broke Thursday from Newt’s second wife, Marianne, that he asked her for an “open marriage” (she said no; he filed for divorce). Well, we got a huge kick out of this blast from the past: a 1995 Vanity Fair article in which the journalist asks then-wife Marianne what she would do if Newt ever decided to run for president — a proposition she was always adamantly against.  (H/T

“He can’t do it without me,” she replies. “I told him if I’m not in agreement, fine, it’s easy” — she giggles at her naughtiness. “I just go on the air the next day, and I undermine everything … I don’t want him to be president and I don’t think he should be.”

And for our walk-off shot, we give you a bonus Newt snippet from the same article. (Remember, this is several years before he divorced Marianne and married Callista.)
“But in Washington there are many demands on the Speaker’s time. Since Newt became a national celebrity, he has no shortage of female admirers — from Callista Bisek, a former aide in Congressman Steve Gunderson’s office who has been a favorite breakfast companion, to the ubiquitous Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, who has become a self-appointed guardian to the newly desirable Newt.”

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