NBC called the South Carolina primary for Newt Gingrich as soon as the polls closed at 7 p.m.
Rachel Maddow made the announcement on MSNBC, and turned to Chris Matthews for his reaction. Matthews said Gingrich's victory had just shifted the race farther to the right, and would leave a lasting impression on the election.
He predicted, "The only way for Romney to beat Newt Gingrich now is to catch up to him with his hatred of Obama, his willingness to take on the American establishment." The MSNBC host also speculated that Gingrich's victory would give Obama an opportunity to grab more moderate voters.
Maddow pointed out that there have never been different Republican winners in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa before. While Matthews compared the volatility of the race to past elections, he was firm that Gingrich had just re-defined the rules of the game. "The right has won in South Carolina," he declared.
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