Peter Lawler is right that, in this race, the prevent defense is for losers. Romney needs to go at Gingrich precisely and relentlessly. If Romney’s attacks are poorly phrased, Gingrich will try to exploit any ambiguity to try to wriggle free. If Romney’s attacks are on the money, Gingrich will lie loudly and furiously and hope that the combination of his tantrum and the lack of a follow up will equal truth in the minds of the viewers. So Romney needs to pick his ground carefully and keep hitting until the moderator intervenes decisively to break them up. The longer the better. Romney’s best avenue is to argue that Gingrich + Freddie Mac + Obama + Solyndra = Crony Capitalism Influence Peddling
Gingrich’s advantage is that a large number of viewers want him to get away with his lies and misdirections (even though they know he is full of it) on the mistaken theory that if he can get away with his BS in the primaries, he can get away with it in the general election. Gingrich’s weakness is that hardly anyone likes him because they think he is a good guy. They like him because they think he is the toughest guy. The more his opponents hit him and don’t back off, the less tough he seems. And if he isn’t the toughest, he isn’t much of anything.