The big news in politics over the Thanksgiving weekend was the endorsement of Newt Gingrich by the New Hampshire newspaper The Manchester Union Leader. The Union Leader is known for its daily and enthusiastic pumping of its chosen candidate, and the equally vigorous thumping of his opponents. This is not good news for Mitt Romney, who calls New Hampshire one of his home states since he owns a lakeside “cottage” there in addition to homes in Massachusetts, Utah and California.
How meaningful is the paper’s anointing? According to Politico.com, they went for John McCain over Romney (and others) in 2008 before McCain carried the state’s primary. They were also an early endorser of Ronald Reagan when it mattered, as well as Pat Buchanan prior to their victories. On the flip side, they endorsed John Ashbrook, Pete DuPont and Steve Forbes. Perhaps the daily’s most notable contribution to primary politics was a news article critical of the wife of Ed Muskie, causing the then-front runner on the Democratic side to shed tears. While tears are almost de rigueur for a Republican these days, it was widely perceived as ending Muskie’s chance of obtaining the nomination.
The Union Leader‘s nod comes at a particularly propitious time for Gingrich since, as feared, his failure to adhere to the rigid anti-immigration orthodoxy of the conservative base has been a major threat to his candidacy. It may not be Romney, however, who will be able to pick up the pieces despite his increasingly strident talk on immigration. Politico‘s Alexander Burns, citing Bloomberg, blogged about a stance Romney took back in 2006 where he had a similar view to the one espoused by Gingrich, except that it was more “humane” in that it would have allowed undocumented immigrants to not only stay, but to get on a path to citizenship.