Newt Gingrich inflicted a devastating electoral wound to Mitt Romney on Saturday in the high-stakes South Carolina primary, decisively winning the socially conservative state where his rival for the Republican presidential nomination appeared to be coasting to victory just a week ago.
Romney's very bad week in the so-called Palmetto State culminated with Gingrich' whose campaign for president has been left for dead more than once' winning the hearts and minds of the state's family-values voters despite his sordid marital history.
"It is very humbling and very sobering to have so many people who so deeply want their country to get back on the right track," an emotional Gingrich, surrounded by family members, told his raucous supporters as they chanted "Newt can win!"
There was a Canadian element to his lengthy, often rambling victory speech as he maligned the Obama administration for recently rejecting TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, a project he erroneously said would bring much-needed oil to Texas from "central Canada."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a "conservative and a pro-American," he said, and now Canada will be forced to sell its oil to China.
"An American president who can create a Chinese-Canadian partnership is truly a danger to this country," he said.
Romney, meantime, vowed to fight on despite his humiliating loss in South Carolina, where voters expressed concerns he was a secret moderate.
"I don't shrink from competition," he said in Columbia during his concession speech. "We're going to win this nomination and we're going to beat President Obama in November."
But he acknowledged the race "is getting to be even more interesting."
Indeed. In the aftermath of defeat, Romney's campaign was already putting out warnings that their candidate was going to start hitting Gingrich hard in the days before the Florida primary, particularly on matters of character.