Given Newt Gingrich's status as a faded frontrunner and fading challenger for Republican nomination, I was wondering which Newt would show up at CPAC -- the happy, grandfatherly Newt of ideas who never ran for president, or the angry Newt who would savage his opponents. It was the former who just spoke, and that makes me wonder.
Newt made almost no reference at all to his opponents -- just one reference to MItt Romney's tax rate. He instead delivered the same "bold solutions" speech I heard him give in 2007 at the American Enterprise Institute, mashed up with a few grand plans he mentioned for executive orders in his Florida not-quite-concession speech.
The other presidential candidates saw fit to ignore Newt -- even Santorum, who took several unsubtle shots at Romney. After drawing blanks in Tuesday's election contests, Newt needs a shot in the arm. He needs to be drawing contrasts with his opponents right now if he wants to remain a viable presidential candidate. Specifically, he needs to go after Rick Santorum aggressively, clawing for every anti-Romney vote between now and the Michigan and Arizona contests on February 28.
But instead of being a tiger, Newt was a pussycat. It makes you wonder how serious he is at this point.