Gin­grich pre­dicts vic­to­ries in South votes on Tues­day

De­scribes Rom­ney as weak ri­val

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY DAVID ELDRIDGE

Newt Gin­grich pre­dicted he’ll win Alabama and Mis­sis­sippi on Tues­day and vowed he is in the run­ning all the way to Tampa — in part, the for­mer his­tory pro­fes­sor said, be­cause Mitt Rom­ney “is prob­a­bly the weak­est Re­pub­li­can fron­trun­ner since Leonard Wood in 1920.”

Mr. Gin­grich, who has won only two of the 25 state con­tests in the Re­pub­li­can nom­i­na­tion race so far, was up­beat two days be­fore the show­downs in Alabama and Mis­sis­sippi, where the lat­est polls have both races as tossups.

“I think we’ll win both. We are cam­paign­ing very ag­gres­sively on both states. As al­most ev­ery­where, you start a lit­tle be­hind be­cause of Rom­ney’s money and the length of time he’s ad­ver­tis­ing. And as you cam­paign, you catch up with him pretty rapidly, and I think we’re prob­a­bly polling ahead in both states right now,” the for­mer House speaker said.

Wood was an early fa­vorite in the 1920 elec­tion, but came into the Re­pub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion short of the del­e­gate to­tal needed to win the nom­i­na­tion. Af­ter 10 rounds of vot­ing, Repub­li­cans nom­i­nated War­ren G. Hard­ing in­stead.

Mr. Gin­grich, who is run­ning well be­hind Mr. Rom­ney in the 2012 del­e­gate count, in­di­cated he may be count­ing on a sim­i­lar sce­nario un­fold­ing this year.

“I think there’s a space for a vi­sion­ary con­ser­va­tive,” the for­mer Ge­or­gia con­gress­man said, pre­dict­ing that the se­lec­tion of a Re­pub­li­can can­di­date would ex­tend be­yond the end of the pri­maries.

“I think we are likely to see af­ter the last pri­mary in June, we’re likely to see a 60-day con­ver­sa­tion about what’s go­ing to hap­pen,” said Mr. Gin­grich, who fin­ished third Satur­day in the lat­est con­test — the Kansas cau­cus won by for­mer Sen. Rick San­to­rum of Penn­syl­va­nia.

Fresh from his Kansas win, Mr. San­to­rum again said Sun­day that he can de­feat Mr. Rom­ney in a one-onone con­test, though he stopped short of ex­plic­itly re­peat­ing his cam­paign’s pre­vi­ous calls for Mr. Gin­grich to quit the race and set up that sce­nario.

“I’d like ev­ery­body to get out. I mean, that’d be great if they could just clear the field. But, you know . . . the speaker can stay in as long as, as long as he wants,” Mr. San­to­rum said on “Meet the Press.”

“But I think . . . the bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to make sure that we nom­i­nate a con­ser­va­tive is to give us an op­por­tu­nity to go head-to-head with Gov. Rom­ney.”

But Mr. Gin­grich said he and Mr. San­to­rum of­fer two dif­fer­ing brands of con­ser­vatism.

On Fox News, Mr. Gin­grich re­it­er­ated his crit­i­cism of Mr. San­to­rum’s com­ment in a de­bate last month that he “took one for the team” while serv­ing in the Se­nate by vot­ing for bills he did not sup­port.

“I’m not run­ning in or­der to go along to get along,” Mr. Gin­grich said. “And frankly, the lead­er­ship team that Rick was in suf­fered a dis­as­trous loss in 2006, be­cause the coun­try didn’t want big­ger deficits, more ear­marks, ‘ the bridge to nowhere,’ and those kinds of things.”

Mr. Gin­grich said he would de­liver on his cam­paign stump prom­ise of $2.50 gas “within two years, maybe faster.”

“When Ge­orge W. Bush signed up the ex­ec­u­tive or­der open­ing up off­shore drilling at pres­i­den­tial level, it still re­quired con­gres­sional ac­tion, the price of oil per bar­rel dropped $9 that day,” he said.

“I think the mar­ket moves in an­tic­i­pa­tory ba­sis. I would sign the Key­stone pipe­line im­me­di­ately. We be­lieve that could be up in a year, or to ex­pe­dite the pro­ce­dures. But 700,000 bar­rels a day go­ing to Hous­ton from Canada. There are a num­ber of steps like that,” he said.

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