Bob Schieffer: Santorum is Romney's new best friend

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Bob Schieffer
CBS

Senior political correspondent and "Face The Nation" anchor Bob Schieffer discusses the primary in South Carolina with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley.

Pelley: Bob, what are you seeing?

Schieffer: I'm seeing it. I'm not sure I'm believing it. I mean, when you look at that debate last night, Scott, when you see someone who took what was dumped on Newt Gingrich last night and yet he managed to turn it upside down, shake it up, and it comes out somehow that it is a plot of the liberal media to protect Barack Obama? That crowd didn't just give him a standing ovation. They jumped up and cheered. I've never seen anything quite like this. This is not just a work of a master debater that you saw last night. This was something that Mandrake the Magician would have been proud of. And there's no way, Scott, that this didn't help Newt Gingrich last night.

Pelley: What are some other reasons Gingrich is surging in South Carolina?

Schieffer: Well, I think the key to this race, Scott, is going to be what happens now to Rick Santorum, who it turns out right now, is Mitt Romney's best friend, as long as Santorum stays in this, as long as he gets a sizable percentage of the South Carolina vote, then I think Mitt Romney might eke out a victory.

But if that doesn't happen, I think Newt Gingrich is on track to win this thing, and if he does, he's going to come out of South Carolina, and it's going to be a totally different picture than any of us thought we were going to be seeing as they head now into Florida.

Schieffer's guests on "Face The Nation" Sunday include former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R - SC.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.