(CNN) – If Newt Gingrich decides to run for president, as it is expected he will, it appears the former House Speaker will put a lot of stock into the South Carolina primary.
Ahead of yet another visit to the Palmetto State – this time to court small business owners in Myrtle Beach – Gingrich highlighted in an interview with McClatchy News that the state has a strong record of picking the GOP presidential nominee.
"South Carolina has picked the last five Republican presidential nominees," Gingrich said. "So it's clear that along with Iowa and New Hampshire, it's a key state in the presidential nominating process. There's no question it will retain that importance in 2012."
Pursuant to rules adopted by the Republican National Committee last year, South Carolina will hold its traditional spot as the No. 3 primary – behind the nominating contests of Iowa and New Hampshire. The primary will be a month later than it was in 2008 however as part of an effort by the GOP to delay the start of the overall nominating process.
Gingrich last visited the state in December when he appeared at the Spartanburg County GOP's Bronze Elephant Dinner. He repeated in his interview with McClatchy that he will make a final decision about a presidential run in February.
"I'm trying to methodically see if it's possible and if there's enough support to make sense out of it," he said.
Though he's still deciding on his White House ambitions, Gingrich has his talking points down.
On his own record: "If you want to balance the federal budget, I know how to do it because we did it for four straight years and paid off $405 billion in debt."
On President Obama: "It's pretty clear that President Obama believes that your money is his money, and that he has the right to decide how much you keep," Gingrich said. "He believes that government is smarter than almost anything in the private sector. He believes in a huge centralized bureaucracy."