Next week's debate in Phoenix is Newt's last chance

Gingrich’s quandary is that while he needs to be more successful in states holding upcoming contests in order to raise money, he can’t be successful without having the necessary funds to compete. The beleaguered candidate does have one opportunity to grab attention in the meantime—the Feb. 22 debate in Arizona. Mark McKinnon, former adviser to President George W. Bush and now a Daily Beast contributor, says Gingrich does not just have to do well at the debate, but “absolutely dominate [it]. He has to own it lock, stock, and barrel. Perhaps roll out a truly transformative idea”—preferably, McKinnon suggests, “something earth-based,” a gibe about Gingrich’s much-mocked proposal for a moon colony that he unveiled in Florida.

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Galen, however, thinks that not even a strong debate performance is enough. In his view, Gingrich is in dire enough straits that a “three-bank shot” is needed. The former House speaker must pair a decisive win in the debate with a Santorum implosion—a combination of a major gaffe by the former senator from Pennsylvania and a strong enough performance by Romney in both Michigan and Arizona “to choke off Santorum’s money.” The task of “clawing his way back into the race” is very tough, and Gingrich just needs to hope that “somebody else mak[es] such a dreadful mistake that he gets to climb back in,” Galen says.

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