Gingrich’s gameplan: Ignore Santorum, hammer Romney
January 13th, 2012
09:07 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich’s gameplan: Ignore Santorum, hammer Romney

Duncan, South Carolina (CNN) - Newt Gingrich is vying with Rick Santorum in South Carolina to consolidate conservative support and emerge as the strongest alternative candidate to Mitt Romney.

But Gingrich said Friday he has no plans to lay a glove on Santorum during the final stretch of the Republican primary race here.

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Conservative voters will naturally come around, he claimed to reporters, somewhat nonchalantly.

“I am going to primarily focus on the contrast with Gov. Romney, and then say to people, if you look at the polling data, clearly if conservatives are going to rally around one candidate, it’s going to be me,” Gingrich said.

The former House speaker made the comments after appearing with Santorum at a presidential forum in the upstate town of Duncan.

The event was sponsored by the Greenville and Spartanburg County Republican parties, two of the largest GOP organizations in the state.

Despite his outward confidence, Gingrich was clearly not ignoring Santorum, his closest competitor in the scramble to secure evangelical and tea party-minded voters.

Gingrich’s staff cheekily arranged a press conference just as Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, was taking the stage at the forum, held inside a crowded high school cafeteria.

The former House speaker also argued that he is in a different league than his Republican rivals when it comes to conservative “ideology and also national leadership.”

But Gingrich seemed confident that Santorum would become something of an irrelevant third wheel as the January 21 primary approaches.

“I am much more concerned with drawing a contrast with Romney,” Gingrich said.

Santorum took a different tack. During the forum he criticized Gingrich’s positions on illegal immigration, and won applause for doing so.

Gingrich, meanwhile, promised to keep raising questions about Romney’s record at Bain Capital, the venture capital and private equity firm he ran in the 1980s and 1990s.

Gingrich said Romney is dodging questions about how many jobs he created at Bain versus jobs he eliminated.

“My only challenge to the governor is, show us,” Gingrich said to reporters. “I mean, if you got some data, put it up. He can’t defend his governor’s record, it’s too liberal for South Carolina. And he doesn’t want to explain his jobs record outside of a commercial.”

Also see:

Gingrich calls out own super PAC, sort of

Romney mail piece touts endorsement from Nikki Haley

Santorum begins S.C. push by contrasting with Obama

Colbert for president (again)


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum • South Carolina
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Gingrich’s gameplan: Ignore Santorum, hammer Romney◄
    Yep, ignore Santorum because "later" he may be able to "help me"
    Romney is the one I want to bring down
    In IA he made me really LQQK like an "ignorant" clown –
    YOU are going DOWN!!
    I will DOG you Romney....LMAO

    Obama 2012!!!

    January 13, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Oh yeah . . . . . The former House speaker also argued that he is in a different league than his Republican rivals when it comes to conservative “ideology and also national leadership.” National leadership? For whom?
    Blacks need to learn to earn a paycheck and not a handout? Spanish is the ghetto language? Women can't serve in the military in a ditch because they get infections every 30 days or some stupid thing like this?
    I would call that idiocy, racism and hatred of women more than anything else!

    January 13, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  3. DENNA

    Why don't we just ignore you? You have zero chance of being president and are wasting our time.

    January 13, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  4. ddblah

    That's what happen when ones starts a mud fight.

    January 13, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  5. JT

    Gingrich is showing his true colors with the way he's handling his campaign. Imagine if he had been given the power of the presidency. Remember when Romney was stepped down four years ago? He quickly endorsed John McCain and campaigned on his behalf. Gingrich is more concerned with a Kamikaze mission. An end result could be the re-election of President Obama.

    January 13, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  6. Larry in Houston

    amazing, isn't it ? after Jan 21st – unless he gets another 5 or 6 Mil from one of his Billionaire friends, he's pretty much done. I hope Romney buries him with everything he's got. He's got enough baggage to sink the Carnival Cruise lines, and 3 Aircraft Carriers. ( no offense to any cruise line, or aircraft carrier)
    it is , what it is, "newter" Obama will crush you in the fall. Romney has already given him the ammo. I hope Warren Buffet sends Obama around 2 Billion -

    January 13, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  7. c s saenz

    This guy's bad record has survived the test of time. He won't recover, and this will be his last stab at it. TOO MUCH BADGAGE

    January 13, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  8. Steve851

    Why would anyone waste any effort against Santorum? He is so mired in every issue that has dragged the GOP down that even the most tribal voters are realizing that. The only tin he is competing for in SC is last place.

    January 13, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  9. unretired05

    You'd better get ready to duck Rick. If "Gingrich said Friday he has no plans to lay a glove on Santorum during the final stretch" you can bet he will try to blindside you.

    January 14, 2012 12:56 am at 12:56 am |