Gingrich pitch to conservatives: Don't vote for Santorum
January 16th, 2012
04:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Gingrich pitch to conservatives: Don't vote for Santorum

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (CNN) - Newt Gingrich delivered a staunch warning to South Carolina conservatives Monday: "Any conservative who votes for anyone but Newt helps elect a moderate as the nominee."

Gingrich was speaking to a tea party-friendly audience in South Carolina's Horry County when he painted presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney as unelectable in a general election.

Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com and on the CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.

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"Ask yourself this simple question: Why would you want to nominate the guy who lost to the guy who lost to Obama?"

"The only reason [Romney] is electable right now is because he has raised more money from Wall Street to buy more ads than anybody else in the race, and we're not going to win that game," Gingrich said. "If you count how much money you can raise as the number one test of electability, Obama's going to drown him."

Gingrich has five days to drive home the message that Romney can't beat President Barack Obama. In order to stop the former Massachusetts governor's crushing momentum, Gingrich needs to rally conservatives behind him over competitor Rick Santorum, who has strong evangelical support and has fared better than the former House speaker in Iowa and New Hampshire.

"If you're a conservative, just look at the polls. I am the only candidate capable of stopping a moderate from winning the nomination," said Gingrich.

Gingrich delivered the same message at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention just minutes after Santorum spoke at the same meeting, but he didn't draw clear contrasts with Santorum there.

During a press availability Monday, Gingrich pointed out why he's a stronger candidate than the former Pennsylvania senator.

"Evangelical voters would like to have a nominee that will win a general election, and somebody who set the all time Pennsylvania record for the size of their defeat has a harder case to make as to why they could be elected," Gingrich told reporters.

"If you vote for Sen. Santorum, in effect you're voting for Gov. Romney to be the nominee because he's not going to beat him. And the only way you can stop Gov. Romney for all practical purposes is to vote for Gingrich. That's just a fact and it's a mathematical fact now."

– Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN.

Also see:

Paul scores sought after endorsement in South Carolina

DeMint: I will not endorse

Romney nabs Florida endorsement

FIRST ON CNN: Huntsman to drop out


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • South Carolina
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Well, that boils it down to the essentials, doesn't it? " Vote for me, I'll lose by an even bigger margin than Romney."

    January 16, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Whatever

    Oh the debate tonight will be VERY interesting with yet another down and out!!!!!!!!

    January 16, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    That sounds like a good sales pitch Newton, but I think it may be too late. You better start handing out peach cobbler at your town hall meetings.

    January 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. gg

    I think the reason Romney is winning because the conservative voters are dividing they votes between Rick, Gingrich, and Perry instead of rally behind one of them from the start of gop primary election.

    January 16, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Birther Movement

    Keep America Beautiful! Put conservatives in their place - in the unemployment line.

    January 16, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Namejkane fl

    All these teapublican clowns have no chance againest Obama and the hick teaparty vote doesn't matter. South Carolina get a union and bring up your wages from back in the stone age. Stop beliveing teapublican propaganda and come into the 21 century!!!

    January 16, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Hair bear

    I'm with Newt on this one! They keep splitting the votes so Romney come out ahead!

    January 16, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Larry in Houston

    the "newter" should be the nxt one to call it quits, after Sanitarium – s.c. needs to vot out their dimwit 'de-mint' I wonder how many Terms he's had ?

    January 16, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. DJ in Texas

    Notice how everybody is miving to the far, far right in this campaign. Newt hasn't been a staunch conservative, EVER. No one has. You CAN'T govern for one group of people and expect it to work for everyone., whether that's left or right. If people had actually looked at Huntman's record, they would have found that he actually had the most conservative record as a public official. Santorum likes earmarks. Newt made money form anyone who gave it to him, no matter what he actually believed (commercial with Pelosi; Freddie Mac, etc), Romney is moderate, Paul is just too out there (although he's conservative on fiscal issues), Perry actually used to be a Democrat. So tell me, who out there is actual "principled" conservative? They ALL had to make concessions to get things done. That's how you govern. You might as well be a dictator if you want it your way or no way...........................

    But Gingrich is so full of himself....lol

    January 16, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Me

    Newt Gingrich delivered a staunch warning to South Carolina conservatives Monday: "Any conservative who votes for anyone but Newt helps elect a moderate as the nominee."

    OH NO! NOT A MODERATE!!! AHHHHH!!! SENSIBILITY AAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!! Decisions based on logic and fact with no regard to political affiliation AHHHHHHH!!!! PARENTS HIDE YOUR CHILDREN!!! RATIONALITY!!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!

    January 16, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. V in Chicago

    Don't you all know Newt is the only one who can lead this country? Well, at least according to Newt. I wonder if her practices this crap in the mirror or to his cardboard haired wife? Either way, both are lying to him if they actually let him walk away and think he will ever be in the White House, except maybe – and just "maybe" as a guest. This clown is the funniest of them all, because he can't see how arrogant and ridiculous he really is.

    Newt – we still remember all the stuff you hoped we had forgotten. . . thus, the demise of the Newt.

    January 16, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Birther Movement

    "Conservative" is a bad word.

    January 16, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. willie floyd

    Unless you're a SC native you can't reallly appreciate this, but MOST SC Reps. vote on 1 thing–ABORTION!! Sad, but true. Try to remember–we are in the heart of the Bible Belt. I've been a Christian for most of my life, but I think my Bible must be different from theirs because I certainly can't accept their values.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 16, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Greg

    The race is between Romney and Paul, nobody else is relevant. Considering Paul placed 2nd in BOTH Republican and Democratic Party primaries in New Hampshire, I'm inclined to believe he has the best chance of winning against Obama, but I'd grudgingly vote for Romney if he's the candidate. As a long time conservative voter, I would NOT vote for Gingrich, Santorum or Perry. Now that Huntsman is off the table it needs to be Paul or Romney or I'll be forced to either vote 3rd party or stay home.

    January 16, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. BBB

    Santorum is easily the most conservative candidate running. I don't see this as a good thing; I think it makes him an absolute monster, but he is still the best vote for 'the religious right'.

    January 16, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |