It was a big win and Mitt Romney’s speech afterwards was pitch-perfect. Romney made a beeline for what will be a core issue of the general campaign:

The middle class has been crushed. Nearly 24 million of our fellow Americans are still out of work, struggling to find work, or have just stopped looking. The median income has dropped 10 percent in four years. Soldiers returning from the front lines are waiting in unemployment lines.

Our debt is too high and our opportunities too few.  And this President wakes up every morning, looks out across America and is proud to announce, ‘It could be worse.’ It could be worse? Is that what it means to be an American? It could be worse?

President Obama wants to present himself as the champion of the middle class.  The word “crushed” was just right to show what has happened to the middle class in the last three years.

Romney appeared genuinely touched by the moment last night—it was as if he had suddenly realized that he might one day be president.   

Appearing on the stage before her husband, Ann Romney thanked a lot of people—but she should also have thanked Newt Gingrich. In a suicidal attempt to portray Romney as an evil rich person, Gingrich has turned Romney into a happy warrior for the capitalist system.

If you want to know how badly the attack on Romney’s record with Bain Capital, his investment firm, backfired, you only have to read this.

Yep, even the editorial board of the Washington Post is to the right of Romney’s GOP attackers on this issue:  

Private-equity firms recruit investors — individuals, university endowments or pension funds — and use their money to start, restructure or expand businesses whose shares are not publicly traded. Once profits start flowing, the private-equity partners cash out, often by taking the company public. Of course, if the investment goes bust, the partners either lose money or make less than they hoped.

Risking your money on a business idea, and persuading others to join you, is Capitalism 101, a strange thing for conservatives like Mr. Perry and Mr. Gingrich to criticize — the latter with the “independent” help of a super PAC bankrolled by a casino magnate. Better that private parties take investment risks than government — as in the case of now-bankrupt Solyndra, or the hundreds of millions in state funds that Mr. Perry has steered to Texas high-tech firms.

The race for the GOP nomination is far from over, but the general election issues are coming into focus. Romney’s challengers in his own party helped him prepare for the evil capitalist charge which, if he is the nominee, is inevitable.

So, Mitt, write a thank-you note to Newt.