As opponents and the Republican establishment turn on former House speaker Newt Gingrich, he's getting a lifeline of support from a constituency he has ambitiously courted: the tea party.
Newt Gingrich topping Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and even tea party champion Ron Paul in a 23,000-person tea party straw poll on Monday might seem like another headscratcher in the GOP's bewildering and manic rush to come up with a candidate to unseat President Obama.
The former House speaker tallied support from 31 percent of the tea partyers surveyed. The straw poll results came as national polls show Mr.Gingrich's support eroding. He's now in a dead heat with Mr. Romney, who has approached the tea party more cautiously.
Meanwhile, Representative Paul, sometimes called the godfather of the tea party, came in with only 3 percent of the straw poll vote. (Representative Bachmann received 28 percent, and former Massachusetts Governor Romney took 20 percent.)
Gingrich's record is long, complicated, and hardly the picture of philosophical rigor that the tea party movement seeks to employ in Washington. So, how did Gingrich win over the tea party?
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