(CNN) – After confidently declaring earlier Thursday he would become the Republican nominee, Newt Gingrich toned down his hubris later that night, saying it was up to the voters to make that choice.
"The people decide, and in the end, they've got to make the decision, but certainly it's moving in the right direction," Gingrich said when pressed in a Fox News interview on whether he stood by his previous remarks about winning the nomination.
Along with his climbing poll numbers, Gingrich showed a spike in confidence Thursday afternoon, making headlines when he told ABC News he was sure he'd be the one challenging President Barack Obama next fall.
"I'm going to be the nominee," the former House Speaker said. "It's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I'm going to be the nominee."
Gingrich's campaign nearly flatlined in the summer after a rocky start, but he now places ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in some state polls.
"Many of you know I was in June and July supposedly dead. It's great to be back," he told a group of Republicans at a campaign event in Iowa shortly before the interview.
He made a series of other predictions Thursday.
"I want to predict to you that the economic recovery will begin late on election night when Barack Obama is on his way back to Chicago and Republicans are in control of the Senate," he said in Iowa Thursday.
Gingrich even beefed up controversial comments about child labor, telling Polk County Republicans, "If you live in a neighborhood where no one goes to work ... the number one thing you need to learn is how to show up and then you need to learn that there's a connection between showing up and money.
"The poorest children in the poorest neighborhoods should have jobs in the schools that they go to," he argued.
"The kids could mop the floor and clean up the bathroom and get paid for it and it would be OK."
The history professor decried being "attacked" for his views but fought back.
"Candidly, this is one of the great fears of liberalism," he said.
"If they learned that at the end of the week they get money for doing work, and if they did more work they would get more money, and then they would stop being poor, then who would rich liberals worry about?"
But by late evening, after his self-assurance on securing the GOP nomination caught a wave of media attention, Gingrich toned back his bold approach.
"It always comes down in the end to the voters. They're going to make the decision. Not the news media. Not the candidates. Not the consultants," he said. "The voters will decide."