Michael Gerson: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich: Pastel safety vs. neon risk

By Michael Gerson

Washington Post

Published: Sunday, Nov. 27 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Gingrich is correct. He will take some heat. There is no Republican primary strategy that involves sympathy with the families of illegal immigrants. Gingrich's indifference to political strategy, in this case, was evidence of his decency. Romney and his campaign went on the attack, accusing Gingrich of endorsing "amnesty" — even though Romney supported immigration reform legislation in 2005 that included a path to citizenship. The contrast between the candidates was dramatic — and not favorable to Romney.

Successful presidential campaigns are exercises in endurance and discipline, which makes Gingrich unlikely to beat Romney in the end. But Gingrich unplugged can be impressive.

Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist, was a senior policy adviser and head speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Email: michaelgerson@washpost.com.

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