I think Newt Gingrich needed to run a closer second in Florida (within 10 points) rather than the 14 he ran behind Mitt Romney, whose super PAC backers pummeled Gingrich with $16 million of advertising vs Newt's $4 million. Newt admitted the barrage threw him off stride and message.
I don't think the Florida loss means he's effectively out of the race, but do think at this point we must transfer the edge to Romney. Between now and Super Tuesday in March, when 10 states vote, it will be uphill for Newt because the February states favor Romney and Rick Santorum, who'll be trying to knock Newt out of the race.
Oddly, these were nonbinding caucuses and no electoral votes were awarded. They were "beauty contests."
Strangely, and I admit I don't understand it, Newt continues to lead in several national polls, though Romney edged less than 10 points past him in a Gallup poll.
Newt said he is going to petition Florida to make the primary votes proportionate, , and he may be joined by Santorum and Ron Paul. The GOP National Committee rules say primaries before March first must apportion those votes according to the percentage received instead of winner take all.
Florida so far has refused despite the rule and given all to Romney. If we are going to play by the established rules, it would seem even Romney would urge that this be done. He still would be leading, just not by quite as much.
When Santorum and Paul finally drop out, who they may endorse may play a key role. This thing is likely to go all the way to the national nominating convention.
Another Gainesville friend who made such a big contribution to our community went to his heavenly reward before my last column appeared but after I had written it by my deadline.
Dr. Wendell Carpenter taught music, conducted orchestras, served several churches leading the choir including my Lakewood Baptist. His son, Cris, was a major league pitcher for several teams.
He was involved in numerous organizations. He had great taste in a mate. Near the end of his debilitating disease he couldn't recognize his loving wife of 46 years but told her one day "I'd be honored if you'd become my wife." Marguerite sweetly answered, "we've been married a long time, honey."
Still another: Bradley Abernathy followed him. He was a big mover and shaker in the real estate game, had civic and church worker.
I apparently made a boo-boo in my last column when I wrote about Abit and KayAnne Massey's grandson who had joined Amanda Watkins in the professional entertainment ranks. Somehow it came out that he, like Amanda, was also a dancer.
Not so, Abit told me. He won an Emmy for a television show he starred in and now has made a movie, "16 Love" already on a number of on-demand sites.
Amanda, incidentally, is now producing a show in Chicago and is busy working out kinks before it opens. She still plans to come to visit her mother and tell the Kiwanis Club about her Broadway (and new) days.
These days are frustrating for a guy like me who's trying to lose weight but also loves food in a community that is rich blessed with so many excellent restaurants. When going out with friends, there's a plethora of choices and we go to all.
Weightwise, last May I started an exercise and diet program to try to lower my weight from 201 to 175. When I weighed Feb. 6 (I weigh on Monday mornings), I was at 180, a loss of 21 pounds with 5 to go.
Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion editor of The Times. His column, in its 53rd year, appears biweekly on Tuesdays and at gainesvilletimes.com/viewpoint. Reach him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville GA 30503.