After last night’s debate, there was a brief discussion in my Twitter peer group as to whether Newt would respond to his drubbing by going after Mitt with a big clawhammer or by returning to his long-forgotten “positive” posture as part of a strategic retreat towards non-candidacy and book/video sales.

I think we know the answer now, via ABC’s Jonathan Karl:

Newt Gingrich is responding to last night’s debate with a brutal new ad accusing Romney of trying to mislead, deceive, and distort his way to the White House.

Here’s the money line: ”What kind of man would mislead, distort and deceive just to win an election? This man would: Mitt Romney.”

The ad essentially accuses Romney of lying at least twice in the debate last night: 1) about his blind trust and, 2) about his vote for Paul Tsongas in 1992.

Makes sense. Gingrich made his rapid and amazing ascent in the polls after New Hampshire by attacking debate moderators and panelists and the Godless Liberal Media they represented, and by attacking Romney in ads. Now that he’s been skunked in both Florida debates, he’s playing the only hand he has left, until Sheldon Adelson’s dough runs out.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.