Mitt Romney is in deep trouble. He's been relying on a weak field of conservatives to divide the vote and leave him as the victor with about a quarter of the GOP primary vote. Moreover, he's always felt that no matter what would happen in Iowa (a probable Romney loss) he would roar to victory in New Hampshire. This weekend, however, the Manchester Union Leader, arguably the most influential conservative newspaper in New Hampshire, endorsed Newt Gingrich. This puts a significant dent in Romney's argument that he will be the inevitable nominee. He'll still probably win in New Hampshire but it is very possible that Gingrich will win in Iowa and come very close in the Granite State. If Gingrich does win one or both of the first two primary contests he'll probably win in South Carolina and Florida. By that time, the other conservatives in the race (Cain, Perry, etc.) will start to drop out and will have to decide whether or not to endorse Romney or Gingrich. I would bet that most or all will endorse Gingrich as he is much more conservative than Romney.
Gingrich certainly has a lot of baggage but he does have some great strengths. He is as articulate as Bill Clinton and will have the support of a united party who wants to defeat the President. If he does win the primary whom does he pick to be VP? For lots of reasons he should pick Marco Rubio. But we'll get to that later...