Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gingrich, Ignoring Attacks, Plays Up Ties to Reagan

At New York Times, "Gingrich Predicts a ‘Wild and Woolly’ Campaign":

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Despite signs that he could lose the important Florida primary on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich pledged Saturday to stay in the nominating fight until the very end, telling reporters he would press on until the Republican convention in Tampa in late August.

“I will go all the way to the convention,” Mr. Gingrich told reporters after a rally at a golf course in this coastal community. “I expect to win the nomination.”

Mr. Gingrich alluded to two national polls that he said showed him ahead, but it is the state polls that count, and in Florida they show him lagging 8 or 10 percentage points behind Mitt Romney.

Mr. Romney, meanwhile, exuded confidence, telling jokes to a crowd in Pensacola and drilling down against President Obama, a shift from recent days, when he had divided his focus between Mr. Obama and Mr. Gingrich.

But he mentioned Mr. Gingrich only once, to gloat slightly about his own strong debate performances in Florida this week, which his campaign hopes will propel him to a win here on Tuesday.

Mr. Gingrich turned in uncharacteristically weak debate performances, something of a surprise since he had climbed in the polls on the strength of his ability to make sharp, succinct arguments and confront his questioners in the news media.

He has also faced a torrent of criticism from the Republican establishment warning that he is too erratic, unhinged and temperamental to be president. Moreover, they have said, he would lose to Mr. Obama in November.

The taunts seem to have emboldened Mr. Gingrich, who predicted a “wild and woolly” campaign ahead as he barreled through a series of speeches and town-hall-style meetings Saturday on Florida’s affluent Treasure Coast.

The Romney campaign has been sprinkling its surrogates on the edge of crowds at Gingrich events to talk with reporters about Mr. Gingrich’s failings and why they were supporting Mr. Romney.

The Gingrich campaign criticized this tactic, even as it brought out its own surrogates and said a backlash was developing against Mr. Romney for orchestrating criticisms of Mr. Gingrich from the Republican establishment. Despite Mr. Gingrich’s three-decade career in Washington, he argues to audiences that he is the only one with vision bold enough to change it.

“Have courage!” he told the crowd here of about 150 people who were standing by the golf course in shorts and flip-flops.

And in the face of assertions that he is exaggerating his closeness to President Ronald Reagan, Mr. Gingrich added that he was “very proud to run on a Reagan-Gingrich record.”
Also, at CNN, "Herman Cain endorses Gingrich."