(CNN) – You wouldn't know it by the Iowa caucus results and latest polls here in New Hampshire and South Carolina. But Newt Gingrich remains the second choice for Republicans nationwide, according to the Gallup daily tracking poll.
"I'm the only national conservative candidate," Gingrich told CNN Radio Friday. His past as House speaker brings significant name recognition with older voters, to be sure. But Gingrich has been unable to translate the national recognition into second place status in any of the first states to go in the nomination process.
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Of course, he blames his fall from the top tier in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina on the relentless attack ads from Romney backers in Iowa, where he was once frontrunner.
Pressed on whether he can run a national campaign to boost his image in the key states, Gingrich automatically moves into the mode of going after Romney and the notion that someone in the pack is going to emerge as the anti-Romney favorite.
"We're not going to try to nationalize it," Gingrich said. "We're going to try to draw a very sharp contrast between a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate. And we're going to go issue by issue and prove why those aren't just slogans. Those are facts."
That strategy comes with the expectation Gingrich can continue in the race, while others fall by the wayside, if Romney remains dominant with a plurality of support.
"And I think as we do that, in places like South Carolina and Florida, it will begin to be very, very difficult for Governor Romney to break out."