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Why Newt Gingrich's Southern strategy faces big obstacles

newt-gingrichAP.jpg

Newt GingrichAP Photo/Elise Amendola

Newt Gingrich's remarks Saturday night after the Nevada caucuses and on NBC's "Meet the Press" the next morning proved that presidential candidates should talk policy, not process.

Proclaiming "We want to get to Georgia, to Alabama, to Tennessee," Mr. Gingrich said primaries in the South would produce "a series of victories" that by the April 4 Texas primary would make him "very, very competitive in the delegate count."

Well, the Gingrich Southern strategy faces big obstacles, starting with Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Demanding that these two candidates drop out so he becomes the only conservative alternative to Mitt Romney hasn't worked.

Mr. Paul sees himself as the leader of an insurgency. He's made it clear he's in the race to stay. 

And while Mr. Santorum's victories on Tuesday in the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and Missouri's beauty contest primary didn't produce any national convention delegates (Missouri's vote was nonbinding, and the caucuses were for precinct delegates), his wins also spell trouble for the former House speaker's plans.

Mr. Santorum's success came because while Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich battled in Florida and Nevada, he barnstormed Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, making 22 stops in the three states to Mitt's three and Newt's two. 

He demonstrated that showing up matters and gained critical momentum toward becoming the not-Romney alternative.

Karl Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush. He is a Fox News contributor and author of "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions, 2010). To continue reading his column in The Wall Street Journal, click here.

Karl Rove joined Fox News Channel (FNC) as a political contributor in February 2008. He also currently serves as a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.