A week ago, on the night of the New Hampshire primary, Newt Gingrich stepped out of an SUV, his face grim, and stormed the Radisson hotel lobby in downtown Manchester. As he moved briskly toward the ballroom, he was swarmed by cameras and a bevy of reporters. In spite of his disappointing finish, he promised to “illustrate the difference” between him and Mitt Romney in the next battleground, the South Carolina primary on January 21. “It’s going to be a real choice between a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate,” he pledged.
In recent days, however, the South Carolina contest has become more than a contrast of politics, a “choice” between two candidates on substance and style. Instead, it has evolved (or devolved, depending on whom you ask) into a brutal, internecine GOP war.
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