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“I can tell you right now, he’s tired. He needs your prayers,” former state Sen. Lee Yancey told a half-full Jackson hotel ballroom before the former House speaker took the stage.

Gingrich aides have said the candidate needs to win Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday to justify staying in the race. He scrapped weekend plans to campaign in Kansas ahead of the Saturday caucuses to stay in the South, his adopted home and the only place he’s won in the 2012 campaign.

“I want your help next Tuesday so we can win the Republican nomination,” Mr. Gingrich flatly told the group, his voice a little rough.

DIPLOMACY

Obama to take British leader to a March Madness game

Talk about getting the royal treatment: President Obama, an avid basketball fan, is taking British Prime Minister David Cameron to an NCAA tournament game in Ohio, showing off one of America’s most popular sporting events.

The White House said the two men will attend a first round game in Dayton on Tuesday, preceding a state dinner on Wednesday. The trip to Ohio may carry political significance for Mr. Obama because Ohio is a key swing state.

In the official business of the trip, Mr. Obama and Mr. Cameron are expected to discuss the upcoming NATO and G-8 summits along with the Middle East, Iran and the global economy.

NEW JERSEY

Christie, SEAL veteran get into shouting match

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got into a shouting match Thursday with a former Navy SEAL at a town-hall meeting over plans to merge two state universities, and ended up calling the man an “idiot.”

Mr. Christie was telling an audience in Florence, N.J., about his plans to merge Rutgers University’s law school in Camden with Rowan University when William Brown, 34, a second-year student at the law school, loudly voiced his opposition.

“Nobody at Rutgers wants it, nobody in South Jersey!” shouted Mr. Brown, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who wore a T-shirt proclaiming his veteran status.

Mr. Christie, his voice rising, replied, “Let me tell you something. If, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end’s going to be thrown in jail, idiot.”

Mr. Brown was then removed from the firehouse by local police officers and spoken to outside by a plain-clothed police officer for several minutes, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He was not arrested.

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