Leave it to Newt Gingrich to decide that what's good for his opponents, such as his suggestion that Rick Santorum exit the Republican primary race to make it a two man race back when Gingrich was ahead in the polls, should not apply to him now that
February 19, 2012

Leave it to Newt Gingrich to decide that what's good for his opponents, such as his suggestion that Rick Santorum exit the Republican primary race to make it a two man race back when Gingrich was ahead in the polls, should not apply to him now that Santorum is ahead in the polls and has some wins under his belt.

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Gingrich if he should drop out of the race if he can't win his home state of Georgia and even though Gingrich expressed how important he thought it was for each of them to do that, he refused to say he'd drop out if he lost Georgia.

WALLACE: we'll get to the policy in a moment. Last month, you urged Rick Santorum to drop out so that you could have a one-on-one race against Mitt Romney.

Let's take a look.


GINGRICH: The longer the conservatives are split, the more likely it is that we end up with the nominee who I think is a moderate and very, very hard time beating President Obama.


WALLACE: If you feel it is so important for the Republicans to put up a true conservative to run against Barack Obama, by that same reasoning, why shouldn't you drop out and give a clear path to Rick Santorum?

GINGRICH: Well, I think you should have played Rick's answer which I now agree with.


WALLACE: Which is what? No?

GINGRICH: Which was no. And, look what happened to Rick in the last three weeks. You know, I have been through Tim Pawlenty, then Michele Bachmann, and then Herman Cain one, and then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain the second time, and now we have Santorum.

And we're just going to keep moving forward gathering delegates. We're looking forward very much to Super Tuesday. We had a great weekend with Herman Cain endorsing, campaigning in Georgia. We'll be back campaigning. It will be in Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington, Idaho and California this week.

And carrying out -- the biggest difference between me and Santorum, who in many ways were the conservative wing of the race, is the scale of the ideas, the boldness of the ideas. I'm much more prepared to talk about fundamental change, whether it's a personal Social Security savings accounts for young Americans, or it is zero capitol gains tax, or it is the kind of energy policy that leads back to $2.50 a gallon gasoline.

And I think in that sense, I'm much prepared to break out of the Washington establishment model.

WALLACE: So, what's your play now? You go back after Santorum to try to win back the evangelicals and the Tea Partiers. Or do you go after Romney, thinking if you can drive him out of the race that you can take on Santorum later?

GINGRICH: I don't -- well, in my model, the one that got me be the frontrunner twice, frankly, is to talk positively to all Americans and to try to suggest that having somebody, you know, there are set of numbers. Herman Cain was teaching me to use numbers yesterday. So --

WALLACE: Nine-nine-nine?

GINGRICH: That was his number. But his point is -- $1.13 was the amount we paid for a gallon of gas when I was speaker, 4.2 unemployment rate when I left the speakership. Four was the number of years you balanced the federal budget the only time in your lifetime. Two out of three was the number of people who went to work or went to school under welfare reform.

You take that scale of change and you apply it to today, then my goal is to say to the American people -- this is the level of leadership that you need. I'm only person in the race who's actually done things on this scale. And I think for us to get back on the right track is a very heavy lift. And it's more than just beating Obama, it's also changing the Congress, changing the laws, and some very fundamental ways we think we need doing.

WALLACE: You were listing to some of the states. And obviously, you know, it's not only big ideas. It's also political strategy. What does it mean to Mitt Romney if he were to lose his home state and an important swing state of Michigan?

GINGRICH: Well, I'd be curious what their rationales would be. Here' the guy who's been running for six years, put in $40 million of his own money last time, has outspent all the rest of us I think by three or four to one in terms of his campaign and probably by 10 or 15 to one in terms of his super PAC. And if he can't carry his own -- he has gotten majority anywhere, except that very tiny majority in Nevada.

If he can't carry his home state, I think the rationale for why is there a Romney candidacy. He's not a candidate of ideas. He's not a candidate of ideologies. He was the candidate because he was the inevitable winner.

Now, there's no place yet -- you know, in Maine for example, he's basically tied with Ron Paul. In Iowa, it turned out after the recount, he was tied with Santorum, with Santorum slightly ahead. And even in Florida where he spent $20 million, he couldn't get to 50 percent.

WALLACE: So, you kind of interrupted yourself, you were saying, if he loses --

GINGRICH: If -- my only point is, there's a whole rational, which is now built on his ability to win -- and he hasn't been able to win -- if he loses his home state and I assume they're going to throw the kitchen sink at Santorum because that's the Romney style. If they don't lose his home state, I don't know see what he says the next morning to his donors to stay in the race.

WALLACE: Are you saying that he'd be fatally damaged?

GINGRICH: I think he's already damaged by the negativity of his campaign and the fact that he keeps driving down turnout. I mean, the studies indicate clearly, when I did well, turn out went up, including north Florida. When he's done well, turnout was gone down.

And I think for the general election, that's not a very good sign.

WALLACE: By that same reasoning, the next week, Super Tuesday, Georgia, your home state -- you have to win Georgia.

GINGRICH: I think you'd have a very -- if any of the three loses our home state, if Santorum loses Pennsylvania, Romney loses Michigan, or I lose Georgia, you have I think a very, very badly weakened candidacies. I was home campaigning for the last two days precisely to say to all of my friends back home, Georgia really matters. You cannot take this for granted.

WALLACE: Are you willing to say that if you lose Georgia, you'll drop out?

GINGRICH: No, given the chaos of this race, I wouldn't say anything, but it's -- but I'm certainly willing to say I think it's extraordinarily important to carry your home state. And also has an underlying impact if you don't.

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