- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 4, 2012

A defiant Newt Gingrich, counting on a win in his longtime home state of Georgia on Tuesday to jump-start his stalled presidential campaign, said Sunday he has no plans to drop out of the Republican contest.

The former House speaker, who appeared on four Sunday morning news programs, cited Rick Santorum’s come-from-nowhere campaign wins last month as justification for staying in the race.

“I’m taking Rick Santorum’s advice,” Mr. Gingrich said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He stayed in, he was running fourth in every single primary, suddenly he very cleverly went to three states nobody else went to, and he became the media darling and bounced back.”

Mr. Gingrich said he was optimistic two days before Super Tuesday, when voters will go to the polls in 10 states, including Georgia, where the former congressman has a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney in the latest polls.

“I’m very confident in the largest state that will vote on Tuesday, Georgia, which has more delegates than any other state. We’re going to win a very decisive victory. We’re going to do well in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Ohio, and many other states. I’m happy to continue.”

Mr. Gingrich acknowledged that Georgia is a bellwether for his campaign.

“You lose all credibility if the folks who know you best repudiate you,” the former House speaker said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I think that will lead to a very spirited campaign in Georgia, which it has.”

Mr. Gingrich said he expects that the race for the GOP nomination “is going to go on for a good while,” despite several recent primary wins by front-runner Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

Gov. Romney, who’s outspent all the rest of us by multiples, is the front-runner without question, but I don’t think he’s a very convincing front-runner, and he’s a long way from having closed out this race,” Mr. Gingrich said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

Mr. Gingrich said only he — not Mr. Romney or Mr. Santorum — will be able to rally the Republican base in order to launch a meaningful challenge to President Obama.

“There is a huge difference between Santorum and me. Santorum has been historically a labor union senator from Pennsylvania,” Mr. Gingrich said on ABC. “I think there [are] some pretty big policy differences there, and when you get out of the industrial states, I think it gets harder for Rick to put together a majority.”

But on Saturday the co-chairman of Mr. Gingrich’s Tennessee campaign, state Sen. Stacey Campfield, announced he had switched to the Santorum camp, saying that Mr. Santorum has the best chance to attract conservative voters.

Mr. Gingrich brushed aside “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley’s questions about the controversy surrounding radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who apologized Saturday for using inappropriate language to describe a law student who testified in a congressional hearing in support of the Obama health care law.

“The Republican Party has four people running for president, none of whom is Rush Limbaugh,” he said.

He said Mr. Limbaugh’s apology was appropriate, but Mr. Gingrich continued his criticism of an apology that Mr. Obama issued to calm anti-American riots that erupted after the inadvertent burning of Koran copies by U.S. forces at an Afghanistan base.

“I don’t believe the president saved lives by what he did,” Mr. Gingrich said on “State of the Union.”

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