Newt Gingrich vows to stay in race until GOP convention

From the Associated Press:

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — On the weekend before the pivotal Florida primary, Newt Gingrich vowed Saturday to stay in the race for the Republican presidential nomination until the national convention this summer even if he loses Tuesday’s vote. Front-runner Mitt Romney poured on the criticism of his rival in television ads airing across the state.

Gingrich’s pledge, in a race defined by unpredictability, raised the prospect of an extended struggle inside the party as Republicans work to defeat President Barack Obama in the fall. “You just had two national polls that show me ahead,” he said. “Why don’t you ask Gov. Romney what he will do if he loses” in Florida.

The former Massachusetts governor countered a few hours later while in Panama City. “I think we are going to win here, I sure hope so,” he said.

As the two rivals made their appeals to Hispanic, Jewish and tea party voters, veterans of the armed forces and others, all known indicators pointed to a good day for Romney in the primary.

He and his allies held a 3-1 advantage in money spent on television advertising in the race’s final days. Robust early vote and absentee ballot totals followed a pre-primary turnout operation by his campaign.

Even the schedules the two men kept underscored the shape of the race — moderate for Romney, heavy for Gingrich.

Campaigning like a front-runner, Romney made few references to Gingrich. Instead, he criticized Obama’s plans to cut the size of the armed forces. “He’s detached from reality,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

“The foreign policy of ‘pretty please’ is not working terribly well,” he added. Romney said he wants to add 100,000 troops, not cut them.

If his personal rhetoric was directed Obama’s way, the television commercials were trained on Gingrich, whose victory in last Saturday’s South Carolina primary upended the race for the nomination. A new ad released as the weekend began is devoted to the day in 1997 when Gingrich received an ethics reprimand from the House while serving as speaker and was ordered to pay a $300,000 fine.

Nearly the entire 30-second ad consists of NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw’s nationally broadcast description of the events on the evening news. “By an overwhelming vote, they found him guilty of ethics violations; they charged him a very large financial penalty, and they raised — several of them — raised serious questions about his future effectiveness,” Brokaw said that night, and now again on televisions across Florida.

Both NBC and the former newsman registered objections. The network called on the campaign to stop using the footage and Brokaw said in a statement, “I do not want my role as a journalist compromised for political gain by any campaign.”

A Romney adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, said the campaign wasn’t likely to stop running the ad. “We believe it falls within fair use,” he said. “We didn’t take the entire broadcast; we just took the first 30 seconds.”
Whatever its impact, the ad represented part of a barrage that Gingrich could not match.

A second Romney ad said Gingrich had “cashed in” as a Washington insider while the housing crisis was hitting Florida particularly hard.

Figures made available to The Associated Press showed Romney was spending $2.8 million to air television commercials in the final week of the Florida campaign. In addition, a group supporting him, Restore Our Future, was spending $4 million more, for a combined total of $6.8 million.

By contrast, Gingrich was spending about $700,000, and Winning Our Future, a group backing him, an additional $1.5 million. That was about one-third the amount for the pro-Romney tandem.

Officials said the total of absentee and early vote cast approached 500,000, about 200,000 of them before Gingrich won in South Carolina last weekend.

Gingrich seemed in good humor during the day, despite the obstacles in his way. He joked with reporters that they had missed an example of his grandiosity — a charge that one rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, had used in a recent debate — when they didn’t see him hold a golf trophy on display at the PGA Library.

Gingrich also turned aside one opportunity to criticize Romney, answering a question by saying, ‘I want to talk about defeating Obama.”

But his tone seemed to change after he said he wasn’t happy with his performances in a pair of debates during the week, and was asked to explain.

“You cannot debate somebody who is dishonest. You just can’t,” he said, referring to Romney.

Referring to one answer the former Massachusetts governor had given, Gingrich said it was not true that Romney had always voted for a Republican when one was on the ballot.

“That in fact he could have voted for George H.W. Bush or Pat Buchanan the same day and he chose the Democratic primary, he voted Paul Tsongas, the most liberal candidate. The same year he gave money to three Democrats for Congress,” he added, referring to the 1992 campaign.

“Now there’s no practical way in a civil debate to deal with somebody who is that willing to say something that is just totally dishonest.”

Romney poked fun at Gingrich’s debate performances.

“This last one Speaker Gingrich said he didn’t do so well because the audience was so loud. The one
before he said he didn’t do so well because the audience was too quiet. This is like Goldilocks, you know, you’ve got to have it just right.

“When I debate the president, I’m not going to worry about the audience, I’m going to make sure that we take down Barack Obama and take back the White House.”

The two other contenders, Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, have conceded Florida and did not campaign in the state during the day.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

82 comments Add your comment

Ol' Timer

January 28th, 2012
6:56 pm

The truth of the matter is that Newt will only stay in the race as long as the “Decider” decide he will stay in the race. With the Super PACs, the “Deciders” can cut off the money like a faucet and the candidate will dry up on the pod.

And, that’s what will happen to Newt if he doesn’t get his mojo back. And, quick~

McDonoughMom

January 28th, 2012
7:36 pm

What a narcissist!

Look before I leap...

January 28th, 2012
7:40 pm

15 minutes ago I was gonna post and say “I hope Newt stays in to keep Romney honest”
I am still laughing uproariously at my stupidity.

Bootnewt

January 28th, 2012
7:51 pm

Newtie and Mittster go to a brokered convention….there, Gen. David Patraeus will announce his candidacy.

td

January 28th, 2012
8:28 pm

It looks like the establishment is going make sure Mitt wins the nomination. Newt will carry several of the southern states and do about as well as Mike did 4 years ago.

jumping jack flash

January 28th, 2012
8:43 pm

Skywalker is as irrelevant as the wild eyed, helment haired, grating voiced, Michelle Bachman.

FruitNewt

January 28th, 2012
9:49 pm

Even Gingrich knows its over.

Shame of Georgia

January 28th, 2012
10:11 pm

Newt is a racist just like Gov Jane Brewer and GA is the worst racist state.

Buck Hayek

January 28th, 2012
10:39 pm

There is great hatred between the Tea Party and the country club Republicans like Willard Romney.

The amazing thing is how DC insider Noot Gingrot got to represent the Tea Party.

td

January 28th, 2012
11:18 pm

Buck Hayek

January 28th, 2012
10:39 pm

There is great hatred between the Tea Party and the country club Republicans like Willard Romney

There is a bigger dislike that will unite all Republicans in a few months from now: BHO.

Hawaii is a cesspool

January 28th, 2012
11:36 pm

America has squandered a trillion dollars on meaningless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the debt now approaching $16T, and all these idiots can talk about is more military waste of money and resources we don’t have. America is broke folks. We have enough weapons now to destroy the whole planet. All they do is pander to that selfish country in the middle east which receives $3 billion in free money from us every year and military hardware too. Is it any wonder the rest of the world hates our guts.
I don’t like BO either but if these idiots don’t have some intelligent suggestions to get us out of debt, we will be automatically destroyed by our own decadence and foolishness and corruption.
These two candidates are the worst I have seen since tricky dick. Ron Paul is the only intelligent voice among the group. All foreign aid and military hardware sent overseas must be stopped immediately.

Hawaii is a cesspool

January 28th, 2012
11:56 pm

The single most important problem in the country today is the fact that America is bankrupt. If this problem is not addressed, there will be NO America left because it will self destruct. This is a national emergency. All unnecessary trips by all officials and employees of government MUST be stopped.
Salaries and benefits of all employees and Congress must be cut way back. Taxes on all citizens must be raised to pay this debt down immediately. All foreign aid must be ended today. All foreign bases must be closed today.The military budget must be reduced about 90%. This is an emergency folks. It is already so big it is beyond the ability of government to control. Tell your representatives to act now or the end will arrive automatically. Is that what you want, automatic destruction of America because of the selfish, arrogant , stupid, corrupt idiots you elected? The inmates have taken over the asylum in Amerika.

Alabama Communist

January 29th, 2012
12:16 am

Breaking Neews… Herman Cain Endorses Newt in a Bold Move to Capture the Sexual Prevert Vote….

honested

January 29th, 2012
12:46 am

Are there enough stupid people with money to ‘keep Nut in the race’?

I would have figured Wednesday morning would mark the end of a comedy and force Nut to find gainful employment.

Centrist

January 29th, 2012
12:52 am

Romney has always been the overwhelming favorite to be nominated. Gingrich is divisive, has waaay too much baggage, ill humor, too big an ego, and can’t get along with many in his party – he is a poor team player. Most states don’t have large evangelical voters who have fallen for the politically convenient Catholic conversion. Romney has always had the organization, money, and endorsements because he is favored – THAT is the establishment. Romney is NOT out with the Tea Party – he gets a good share of those votes, too, since he supports tax reform and less government spending like the other GOP candidates. Gingrich and Paul can stay in the race after Romney gets the required delegates for the nomination – it won’t help either of them at the Convention.

double

January 29th, 2012
12:52 am

Cain endorses Newt.says they are putting Newt through the sausage grinder,and he knows about that, since he has been there.Seems their sausages caused most problems as is.

UGA75

January 29th, 2012
1:03 am

Newt is a poor candidate, true, but Romney is a fair skinned Obama, I made the statement during the last election cycle that I would not vote for McCain, and I didn’t. I will never under any circumstances vote for Romney, except for not bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia which I’m sure Rom wouldn’t do, there isn’t any difference except the aforementioned skin tone. This country is in deep trouble when money and 50 people determine who the candidate is going to be.

Herman Cain

January 29th, 2012
1:10 am

The Cain Train is going to be in it with Newt all the way to the convention as well, I’ll be seeing you on the road ladies.

double

January 29th, 2012
1:12 am

3M will be your man,MittMorMex Corporate Raider,put people out of work,take their retirement money,pass it on to Bain shareholders.Will do the same to middle class in form of taxes.Will make T.Boone look like an amature..

OLD MAN

January 29th, 2012
1:14 am

newt said to hold your horses until the cows come home

Look before I leap...

January 29th, 2012
1:42 am

Centrist says that Romney has always been the favorite to win the GOP nomination. Polling and money and the GOP establishment support that view.

However, Romney lost or tied in IA, won big in NH (no surprise there) and got trounced in SC (against almost all polling odds) and went into FL more or less tied with Gingrich. Gingrich stumbled in the FL debates and Romney is outspending Newt 2:1 in the media market. That spending is not directed at Obama’s weaknesses, it is directed squarely at Newt and his baggage.

The GOP establishment is behind Romney for one reason, he has the POTENTIAL to appeal to the GOP moderates and the independents. The evangelicals and the tea party are going to have to take a back seat in 2012 with regard to the run to the White House. If they don’t find a way to unite behind a very rich guy who is a Mormon, Obama is going to get 4 more yrs.

With that, Romney can be attacked by the Democrats for being “Obama Lite”, there is simply not enough substance for Romney to run on that differentiates him from Obama. If the economy continues to improve, however slightly, and unemployment continues to decline, Romney stands little chance of beating Obama in Nov. Romney’s only hope is that the 12 swing states are economically declining or stagnate between now and November.

bullwinkle

January 29th, 2012
2:00 am

Mitt’s father was born in Mexico. I do believe that makes Mitt’s father a Mexican citizen. So when are you “Birthers” gonna file suit to remove Mitt Romney from the Ga Primary ballot? Or, are the children of a Mexican citizen able to run and perhaps become president of the USA, but the child of a Kenyan citizen can’t. And yes, both children were born in the USA. Inquiring minds want to know.

Look before I leap...

January 29th, 2012
2:18 am

You are tilting windmills Bullwinkle, though you make interesting points.
Many may try and pretend to Constitutional scholars based on what they hear from Rush or Bill O’Reilly, but the sad fact is, most of them are far more worried about a guy with darker skin and a Muslim sounding name than they are about a rich white guy whose family fled to Mexico to escape religious persecution.

Look before I leap...

January 29th, 2012
2:37 am

Here is an interesting thought:
Why is the GOP so invested in winning the White House?
They have control of the HOR, and can win the Senate with 3 wins.
The GOP is not likely to lose control of the House, why not focus the money and attention on the Senate races?
Legislative control can cripple a Presidency, so any threat of an “Obama Democrat Socialist” nation is nullified.
Are the “cons” fighting the wrong battle?

sheepdawg

January 29th, 2012
6:16 am

Fantastic news from the funniest candidate ever!! Keep talking newtie, we’ll keep laughing!!

BitterEXdemocrackkk

January 29th, 2012
6:38 am

PLEASE , PLEASE Speaker Gingrich, NAME Herman CAIN as your VP and even I can vote for you!!!

Attack Dog

January 29th, 2012
6:43 am

GWB bowed to almost every first world leader, second and some third’s. No problem. Newt won’t let anyone else on Air Force One and Mitt will never decide where he wants to go. BTW, Mitt has already publically stated, during a debate, that individual mandates is the best part of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Either he is a President Obama Lite, or he is telling the truth. It’s really both. Chase your tails Dixiecrats, chase your tails.

Attack Dog

January 29th, 2012
6:46 am

Please Dixiecrats, nominate Newt and Herman. We can surely put the Bill and Monica as a political talking point to rest. Chase your tails Dixiecrats, chase your tails.

Ga Values...Ron Paul for Peace & Prosperity

January 29th, 2012
6:46 am

Newt is the man if you want OBAMA

General Election: Gingrich vs. Obama Rasmussen Reports Obama 49, Gingrich 39 Obama +10

Old Hippie

January 29th, 2012
7:27 am

This must make things a lot easier for JG since he obviously has his lips firmly attached to Newt behind.

The Real Politico

January 29th, 2012
7:52 am

Chaos among Republicans. Can anything be sweeter?

chg

January 29th, 2012
7:57 am

Newt whines about negativity, yet he calls Romney ‘anti-immigrant’ which he’s not, he attacks capitalism, which is the engine that drives this country, he calls him a liar, which he’s not, he twists the truth, like claiming he never said Spanish is the language of the ghetto when you can search on youtube and hear him say for yourself that any language other than English is the language of the ghetto while speaking to a Spanish crowd. He acts so pious and has signed a ‘no-adultery’ pledge after he spent his life committing adultery. His 3rd wife just stands there and smiles at him while Ann Romney can actually speak before a crowd and inspire them. Callista the long-time mistress turned 3rd wife would be another embarrassment as First Lady. Newt has way too much baggage, not to mention the baggage around his belt.

Ted

January 29th, 2012
8:35 am

Newt is a force that seeks an audience.

Ted

January 29th, 2012
8:37 am

Herman Cain’s endorsement says more about the mental sharpness of Herman Cain than it does about Newt Gingrich.

OSAMA made DUBYA his bi@tch

January 29th, 2012
8:53 am

wow HERMNIE endorses NEWTIE…in other news i just farted…which “event” is more important? i’ll let you decide

Betty

January 29th, 2012
9:12 am

It is going to take some one that knows his way around Washington Politics to turn this situation around. Newt is that person and he is not afraid to stick his neck out. He was cleared of all charges against him when he was Speaker so why do you continue to declare him guilty? I, a Senior Citizen, will work for Newt to become President and I like Herman. (Have you forgotten, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”?)

jumping jack flash

January 29th, 2012
9:32 am

Betty should apply for citizenship in Skywalker’s moon colony.

findog

January 29th, 2012
9:58 am

Centrist, except for Paul all of the republicans have called for increased military spending. How are they going to cut the budget and increase military spending? Just like Cheney quoted President Reagan, “deficits don’t matter.”

zeke

January 29th, 2012
10:07 am

love how td often talks of how conservs brighter than libs in georgia and generally which is bull, but in sc newt won every group except high incomes and advanced degrees…so smarter conservs in sc voted for mitt not newt

zeke

January 29th, 2012
10:19 am

does this look familiar: http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2012-01-21/story/secrecy-and-lawmaking-dont-mix

conservative and transparency, not

coming to ga soon

catlady

January 29th, 2012
10:20 am

Betty, that ain’t Newt’s “neck” sticking out, dear!

Frederick Douglass

January 29th, 2012
10:30 am

Well if Newt did get elected, and Callista as first lady urged rednecks to quit eating fatback burritos dipped in liquified lard, they’d listen to her…….Michelle could never reach them.

Centrist

January 29th, 2012
10:41 am

Look before I leap… posted “The GOP establishment is behind Romney for one reason, he has the POTENTIAL to appeal to the GOP moderates and the independents. The evangelicals and the tea party are going to have to take a back seat in 2012 with regard to the run to the White House. If they don’t find a way to unite behind a very rich guy who is a Mormon, Obama is going to get 4 more yrs.”

Agree with all that except for the tea party – they will not take a back seat and Romney will be mostly on board.

Look before I leap… posted “Romney can be attacked by the Democrats for being ‘Obama Lite’, there is simply not enough substance for Romney to run on that differentiates him from Obama. If the economy continues to improve, however slightly, and unemployment continues to decline, Romney stands little chance of beating Obama in Nov. Romney’s only hope is that the 12 swing states are economically declining or stagnate between now and November.”

Disagree that Romney will be considered by many as Obama lite – there are VERY stark differences. You are listening to his GOP opponents who are incorrectly trying to color him such – only because they are more extreme to the right. I do agree with the rest of the above and think Obama is going to win – he is an incumbent already pandering, has a $ billion to buy advertising, has free entourage transportation via Air Force One, and leftist media adoration. Too many of those swing states to flip, and some had well over 5% spreads which is very hard to overcome.

rbd

January 29th, 2012
10:43 am

I have many AA friends who say they moved to GA because there is more opportunties for them here than any other state. So how is it that we are so racist if they want to move here.

George Hills

January 29th, 2012
10:45 am

Mr. Gingrich stands for flooding the country with waves of Mexican & red Chinese immigrants. He’s a bad choice for America.

Look before I leap...

January 29th, 2012
11:30 am

@rbd

Had to read that a couple of times, couldn’t figure out at first what people with drinking problems had to do with racism.

That there is a perception that opportunities exist here for minorities that don’t exist elsewhere does not negate the potential for racism. There is considerable “reverse” racism ITP and considerable racism OTP, some overt, some not.

Look before I leap...

January 29th, 2012
11:40 am

@Centrist

I agree that the tea-party won’t sit quietly on the sidelines, I am saying they should. The tea party message plays much better on the local level than it does on the national stage.

I agree that Romney’s campaign message offers significant differences to Obama, but his actual record as governor of MA, not so much and that is what the Democrats will come after him with.

In any event, it will be interesting to see how the national message develops for the general election. Still trying to get excited about the guy, not happening yet.

double

January 29th, 2012
11:47 am

Red chinese are they already republicans?Romney will flood us with Mexicans,Remember the old saw Blood thicker than tequila.

honested

January 29th, 2012
12:10 pm

Since he has run out of ‘casino executives’ to fleece, will Nut run the remaining primaries via Twitter?

That does seem appropriate.

snoqualmiefalls

January 29th, 2012
12:33 pm

I’m hoping Newt stays in the game.. In my state we will do without a primary, just cauceses where any one can show up and vote for thier favorite candidate, hmmmm some unpricipaled folks just might show up who are not GOPTEA’s and vote for Newt just to skew the tallies… of course I and my friends would never even consider such underhanded tactics… HA HA HA