It has been assumed all along that Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor, was the front runner, and that he would win the GOP Presidential nomination.
Now it can be said that is much less likely as conservative discontent with Romney and his chameleon status, his constant flip flopping on just about every issue, has led the Manchester Union Leader, the leading newspaper in New Hampshire, to endorse former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who has surged to the lead in many public opinion polls after a disastrous start to his campaign five months ago.
Gingrich has many faults and shortcomings that can be utilized against him by President Barack Obama, but he comes across as far more exciting, interesting, and controversial in his actions and utterances than does Romney.
The first question will be whether Gingrich can garner his significant newspaper endorsement with a victory over Romney in the New Hampshire primary, which is practically home territory for Romney, who governed next door, and now has a home in the Granite State.
More than ever, the primary in New Hampshire seems like the turning point it has almost always been, in the sense that since the primary began in that state in 1952, every Presidential winner has won the primary in New Hampshire except Bill Clinton in 1992, George W. Bush in 2000, and Barack Obama in 2008.
It is clear the the Obama team needs to do a lot more preparation for a possible Gingrich candidacy, although at present, they have been assuming a Romney candidacy.
Most observers would think at this time that a Romney candidacy would be more challenging to Obama than a Gingrich candidacy in 2012. But it has been a reality that no one can truly be sure how a Presidential matchup would work out until the actual campaign gets under way in the fall of 2012.