Yesterday, the editors of National Review called on Newt to drop out of the race in favor of Santorum:

When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.

Well, as least NR didn’t run a cartoon this time, so that’s progress for the prestigious conservative publication.

Ramesh Ponnuru a writer at NR defended the editors by saying they didn’t really call for Newt to drop out, “[a]ll the editorial did in this regard was tweak the former Speaker” by throwing back at Newt his prior suggestion regarding Santorum.  Given NR’s overt, sustained, and at times childish hostility towards Newt, it is understandable that almost everyone read the editorial not as a “tweak” but as a call to drop out.  [see update]

Regardless, Newt has called the National Review editorial “silly” and has said he’s staying in the race at least through Super Tuesday:

“I think my ideas are much bolder than Santorum or Romney’s. I think my ideas are much clearer and more specific and I have to focus on communicating those ideas. Let’s see how it plays out,” Gingrich told reporters after addressing a Hispanic leadership event near Los Angeles. He is spending most of the week in California attending fundraisers….

Gingrich called the National Review article “silly” and said he had no intention of abandoning the race. He noted that he had been counted out several times before in the presidential race but had rallied back each time.

“The National Review wanted me to drop out in June,” Gingrich said, adding that he planned to revive his candidacy with policy speeches like the one he delivered Friday at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee. The speech was well received, but Gingrich nonetheless placed third in the group’s presidential straw poll.

(video via Right Scoop)

Update: Rich Lowry, in addition to Ponnuru, also is claiming that there was no call to exit, and Lowry takes offense to Newt’s comments.  Stop digging.  There was someone else who understood it just the way the rest of us did (h/t Windy City):

Our editorial advises this morning: the proper course for Gingrich now is to endorse Santorum and exit.


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