Gingrich Rejects Calls For Him To Drop Out
SOUTH EL MONTE, Calif. (AP) – Republican Newt Gingrich on Monday dismissed calls to drop out of the presidential contest in order to set up a direct contest between rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The former House speaker insisted that his ideas and a new determination to stay positive would help him once again resuscitate his flagging candidacy.
“I think my ideas are much bolder than Santorum or Romney’s. I think my ideas are much clearer and more specific and I have to focus on communicating those ideas. Let’s see how it plays out,” Gingrich told reporters after addressing a Hispanic leadership event near Los Angeles. He is spending most of the week in California attending fundraisers.
Gingrich’s comments came as the National Review, an influential conservative magazine, published an editorial calling on Gingrich to step aside and endorse Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who has recently surged in polls. Santorum himself suggested in an interview Sunday that he would like Gingrich to clear the way.
Gingrich called the National Review article “silly” and said he had no intention of abandoning the race. He noted that he had been counted out several times before in the presidential race but had rallied back each time.
“The National Review wanted me to drop out in June,” Gingrich said, adding that he planned to revive his candidacy with policy speeches like the one he delivered Friday at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee. The speech was well received, but Gingrich nonetheless placed third in the group’s presidential straw poll.
Gingrich made the same argument during a speech in Pasadena:
PASADENA, Calif. — As Newt Gingrich swooped down on donor-rich California for several days of fund-raising, he still managed on Monday to fit in a couple of rallies, where both voters and reporters peppered him with questions about the viability of his campaign after national polls showed him fading behind both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Mr. Gingrich pushed back hard on any suggestion that Republicans had decided that Mr. Santorum, not he, was their preferred conservative standard-bearer after Mr. Santorum’s victories in three state contests last week.
He reminded listeners that his candidacy had been declared finished before.
“Santorum had a really good Tuesday, and suddenly the very same people who said I was dead in June came back and said, ‘I told you so,’ ” Mr. Gingrich replied to a skeptical audience member at a Tea Party rally here. “Well, I have a message for them. I’m here.”
Earlier he answered a similar question from reporters after a Hispanic forum at a restaurant in East Los Angeles.
“Twice I’ve led in the Gallup polls,” he said, referring to his surge in early December and following his victory in the South Carolina primary in January. He predicted that he would return to the top of polls in a few weeks.
He dismissed any notion of dropping out before Super Tuesday on March 6, as the editors of the conservative magazine National Review called on him to do for the good of the Republican Party on Monday. “National Review wanted us to drop out in June,” Mr. Gingrich said. “It’s silly.”
He even acknowledged that he had been wrong when he suggested after South Carolina that Mr. Santorum should be the one to quit the race, and for the same reason – to unify conservatives against Mr. Romney. “He decided that wasn’t a good idea and he was right,” Mr. Gingrich said.
So it looks like Newt’s staying in for now. Of course, what that means practically if his money is drying up as some reports indicate remains to be seen.