FINGER TO THE WIND

Mitt Romney Ducks GOP Civil War

New York's 23rd Congressional District's three-way race has become a national proxy war for the future of the Republican Party, but Mitt Romney, one of the leading likely contenders for the 2012, has decided not to fight. Sarah Palin and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have both endorsed third-party candidate Doug Hoffman over moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava, which could hand the election over to Democrat Bill Owens if the right-leaning candidates split the vote. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich has earned the enmity of the Republican base in recent days for aggressively defending Scozzafava from their attacks. "I have chosen not to endorse the Republican in the 23," Romney said on Wednesday, ABC News reports. While the move may be a tacit criticism of Scozzafava, it's nonetheless a much less overt entry into the race than either Palin or Pawlenty.