Tampa, Florida (CNN) - Up against Mitt Romney’s robust campaign operation and facing a tough February slog, Newt Gingrich’s campaign is tempering expectations for two major contests and largely setting its sights on March, when a slew of southern states begin to weigh in on the presidential race.
Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told CNN Monday that Michigan and Nevada – two states that Romney won during his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign – will be difficult political terrain for the former House speaker come February.
Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
“The toughest one is Nevada,” Hammond said.
As for Michigan, he said: “If we are looking at the six February states right now and we are going to rank them, we are not putting Michigan first.”
“Our strongest states, you look at Arizona, you look at Minnesota, Maine and Colorado,” he said.
Arizona is a primary state, while Minnesota, Maine and Colorado all have caucuses scheduled for next month.
Nevada, which awards delegates proportionally, holds its Republican caucuses in just five days, on February 4.
Michigan votes on February 28. Statewide delegates there are awarded proportionally, and congressional district delegates are winner-take-all.
Romney won both Nevada and Michigan during his 2008 primary effort, and his campaign has been laying political groundwork in both for more than a year.
The two states remain bright spots for Romney as the race shifts to a national phase after Tuesday's Florida primary.
Michigan is central to Romney’s political biography: he was born in Detroit and his father served as governor from 1963 until 1969.
And in Nevada, roughly a quarter of Republican caucus goers in 2008 were self-identified Mormons - and most of them backed Romney in that contest.
Gingrich himself highlighted the Mormon factor after a campaign event Monday in Orlando.
"Nevada's tricky because of the Mormon influence, but we have a shot at it,” Gingrich said.
Still, Gingrich added that he will "absolutely" campaign in Nevada, where Ron Paul is also aggressively organizing.
Hammond, the Gingrich spokesman, claimed that Arizona is perhaps the most favorable battleground, in part because it’s “a strong tea party state” that will be receptive to the candidate’s grassroots-oriented message.
Like Michigan, Arizona’s winner-take-all is scheduled for February 28.
But Hammond also echoed a campaign memo released Sunday that said the campaign is mostly ramping up for March, when several large southern states like Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi will award “a huge delegate treasure chest.”
“Our capacity to tell the truth about Romney's record is limitless,” he said. “We will challenge Mitt Romney and his lies in every state in every contest."
– CNN's Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.
Gingrich supporter trails Romney
Romney would consider pulling NBC ad
Romney holds 14-point lead over Gingrich in new Florida poll
I LOVE seeing the monstrously egotistical newton having to eat him some humble pie. Hasn't newtie already informed our nation several times that he WILL be the nominee. He said just look at the polls...
Good luck getting Texas Gingrich. pffft
What a sad man Gingrich is. I feel sorry for him.
Question to Newt Gingrich; Mitt Romney; Rick Santorum, Ron Paul:
I would like to know about the illegal's that are on food stamps. A family of 4, the mother and father are both illegals and both working full time jobs, they have 2 children that were born in US. Only a percentage, 20%, of their income counts in qualifying for foodstamps? Why doesn't all of their income count like it would for a citizen of the United States? With the illegals and only a percentage of it counting, this illegal family is getting more foodstamps than some American citizens.
Now do a second family. The 2nd family are all American citizens, they don't qualify for foodstamps because ALL of their income of their income counts.
Why are the American people paying the bills for illegals to get foodstamps when the same rules should apply for all? This is going to bankrupt the system.
I think reform is much needed for the foodstamp program. I would like this to be addressed.
Go Newter Go !! Don't worry Newter !! Adelson wil send you another 800 Million to smother Romney in More T.V. Ads !! when Adelson gets tired of sending you close to a billion, You've got the other back-up guy, ( the Donald) for another Billion !! Go 4 it Newter !!
The Newt will be thinking about book sales and huge lobby money for his "history" expertise. Even conservatives have some minimal level of honesty requirement for their leaders. Still, if they require honorable behavior why would they choose Romney?
A week ago I predicted that Mittens would be run out of 'the Villages' in Florida for his support of the Ryan plan to overhaul social security and give seniors a voucher in place of their medicare. I was wrong, Mittens took the opposite stance tonight, promised to protect their social security and medicare, and even promised to provide Americans with health care. I think this flip flop is one more reason that Mittens is unfit for office. He makes Newt look like a boy scout.
►Gingrich campaign lowers Nevada and Michigan expectations◄
Doggone right about that – it's NOT the SOUTH – there, he would NOT be a sensation
But what is going to be more hilarious is MITTens trying to reverse his far-RIGHT stance
When he comes back “up North” using the same far-Right rhetoric as part of his dance??
MITTens thinks we’re not recording him – He’s a flip-flopping, about-face, forward march, step to the rear but stay in the front, his daytime is during his night, and there is no sunshine on his days but he does not care because he thinks we’re not paying attention and we have (well at least the voters on the right) short-term memory!! We do remember, “Everything!”
ginGRINCH is “all of the above” backwards!!! :-)
Why would NV be rough, that is whee Gingrich's main money man lives, that should be a shoe in for him
Why does Newtie's wife wear that helmet everywhere ??
I hope our president wins again!
None of this is really new news. Gingrich will likely do well in those typical southern states in the same way South Carolina delivered for him. BUT...nothing is ever guaranteed.
Phew- no more complaints for a while then?
Gingrich, your capacity to tell the truth about anything is limited rather than limitless, and there is plenty to tell about you to begin with.
there is absolutely now way in hell this country will vote in Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum........ It is going to be a complete landslide in Congress, Presidency, and Senate......... unfortunately............... however, it wont change a damn thing and the status quo corruption will continue until we take up arms.........which we will have to do.
After the Nootster's "moon colonization" spiel, is anyone really taking this gas-bag seriously? Obama2012.
Good! Keep up the fight. Keep bloodying each other up. Obama thanks you!
Vote for Mitt Romney!!!
Newt Gingrich can't be Trusted. He a Cheated and a crook and he LIE all the time. And he was a Lobbyist for Fannie mac. And he was kick out of Congress and should even be a loud to run for President.
Gingrich know february is full of states with educated peole, so he has to put his sights on March when they get back to ol' South uneducated religious extremists who are likely to side with a zealot and good ol' boy like newt.
As defined by normal people:
truth. noun. that which is in accordance with fact or reality.
As defined by Newt Gingrich:
truth. noun. that which Newt Gingrich finds it politically advantageous to claim, regardless of actual bearing in reality. more often false than not.
...no wonder why the campaign claims that their capacity to tell the "truth" is limitless.
Dr. Ron Paul will defeat Obama in a general election! Vote Ron Paul 2012!
At least the Newt has identified what is Most important to Americans ,
That he find a wife with a face for television .
It took him awhile but now he is ready to be a world leader . . .
( so is snarky working in print ? so much easier when spoken )
"Mr. Cain, hurry up with my pizza i'm starving!"