(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Thursday seemed to be lowering expectations for the upcoming Iowa caucuses, saying he'd be happy with a third or fourth place finish.
"My goal is to be the top three or four [in Iowa]," the former House speaker said at a campaign stop in Richmond, Virginia. "I'd love to win."
His comment comes one day after a new poll indicated that Texas Rep. Ron Paul now holds the top spot in the Hawkeye State, with 28% of Iowa Republican caucus goers saying Paul would be their first choice.
Meanwhile, Gingrich came in second with 25% of support, a three percentage point margin well within the poll's sampling error.
The results reflect a slip in the polls for Gingrich, who was ahead in the Iowa race earlier in the month according to several surveys.
Also in early December, Gingrich made headlines when he told a reporter he would win the Republican nomination, saying, "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."
The comment was quickly criticized as presumptuous among Republican circles. Later that day, Gingrich dialed back his confidence, saying the GOP nomination was up to the voters, not him.
While Gingrich expects to come in third or fourth in Iowa, he said he has higher predictions for other early voting states.
"I probably will be in the top two in New Hampshire, and then to win South Carolina and Florida," Gingrich said.
Gingrich has tried to maintain a positive campaign as his opponents attack his recent frontrunner status.
Playing defense, Gingrich held phone conferences with supporters and media availabilities with the press in the last week to answer some of the ads launched against him.
For example, on Monday, Gingrich took an apparent swipe at opponent Mitt Romney, who's repeatedly called Gingrich an "unreliable" conservative.
"Now I don't want to get into any attacks so I'm not going to comment on people who are suggesting I'm not a consistent conservative. Although one wonders how they would know one if they saw it," Gingrich said at a campaign stop in Iowa.
But on Thursday, Gingrich denied that his response to the attacks has caused him to go negative, saying he is simply being honest.
"I don't regard telling the truth as an attack," Gingrich said. "It may feel like an attack to people who are lying, but I think telling the truth is a legitimate part of politics."
The Iowa caucuses, the nation's first Republican presidential contest, are set for January 3.
Ron Paul defensive over past newsletters
Gingrich to Romney: Let's meet in the kitchen
Flavor Flav of the month. That's Grinch! Next up? Ron Paul. Obama has this thing in the bag!
Good. I hope he feels that way about all the caucuses and primaries.
Keith in Austin wrote:
... the Bill already approved by the House incorporates the following; A FULL YEAR extension that provides stability to Businesses and the Economy, Protection for Doctors that treat the Elderly to ensure their fees don't plummet due to Obamacare's gutting of Medicare budget, Sound CUTS in wasteful Government Spending, Keystone XL Pipeline initiative that will create thousands of jobs and reduce our dependency on foreign oil from the Middle East
You have ignored the most of the amendments to what House Republicans had referred to as a "jobs bill". You glossed over them in your remark about "provides stability to Businesses and the Economy." The bill tries to defund the ACA. The pipeline does not create anywhere near as many jobs as Republicans suggest.
Not a single Republican politician, nor even a single right wing radio pundit, has made the claim that the pipeline will reduce our foreign dependence on oil. Nor have you heard anyone making the claim that the pipeline will reduce prices in the US. No one is making any of those claims because not only are they untrue, but because those arguments are easily debunked by the history of the Alaska pipeline.
Those resources are sold at a discount on the world market because of the added expense of retrieving them. We currently purchase those resources in the continental US at a discount. The pipeline would enable producers to bring those resources more easily to the world market, which would eliminate the need to sell it at a discount thereby raising our costs. In case you have not noticed, the pipeline goes straight to the Gulf of Mexico where tankers to big to fit in the Panama Canal stop.
Another factor that will dramatically drive up US prices is the fact that money must be raised to pay for the cost of contructing the pipeline. Anyone who has had a power plant built in the state to serve the local power needs can tell you all about what it is that I am talking about. I am sure some remember what it was like to pay your local power company to construct a nuclear power plant in your area. "We must raise prices now, but we will be able to lower them once construction is finished."
Lowered expectations, that what we all want in a leader
Kipling might say, "Into the valley of death rode the republican teabaggers in congress."
Led by the most inept speaker in history, this might be where Napoleon pulls his bone apart.
You are going in the right direction, Newt !!!--– Keep it up..........
To all you Ron Paul supporters, please look more closely at ALL his positions, instead of his 2 or 3 most popular ones. The man would be a disaster in the Whitehouse, and he'd put the country in unfathomable danger and risk. A vote for Ron Paul is a vote for the extinction of the USA.
Newt. You stated to the camera that the nway things looked you were going to be the nominee. Once again, you have changed your mind as you seem to constantly do. No ehtics, morality or loyalty. No presidency for you!
Wire Palladin, S. F.
I am quite happy with the change, thank you. When the president took over in January 2009, the stock market was below 8000. The drop from over 14,000 to 7800 under Bush nearly destroyed my retirement. We had lost 8 million jobs in Bush's last three years, our national debt had risen to $11 trillion, and that did not include Bush's TARP. We were involved in 2 wars with no way to pay for them, 50 million Americans were uninsured, and 48000 were dying annually without being able to see a doctor. The American auto industry was going under. Over 3 million jobs were created in the stimulus, 2 million auto related jobs save, and we are out of Iraq. President Obama deserves a second term. That is change I believe in!
I LIKE the change also and I am not planning to CHANGE in 2012.
Funny how his story changed once the polls started showing Ron Paul out front.. Wasnt he the guy who was talking big about how he was certainly going to win? The pompous gasbag with delusions of adequacy is now changing his story to make sure that it lines up with his fantasy. Whatever.
"Obama should explain to the American workers why he prefers a 2 month deal to the 1 year resolution passed by the Republican House of Representatives. It is really on Obama and Harry Reid right now."
The only way your and the GOP/Teatroll argument works is to assume that it's not already a foregone conclusion that they will reach agreement on extrending it for the full year within those two months. The only reason to believe that won't happen is if the GOP/Teatrolls yet again try to take it hostage in order to make more demands that their ideological partisan agenda wishlist be granted.
Richard Przybylski, if you really believe that " The media loves what sells or makes them money", then you can't vote for the GOP, who have a ready-made media mouthpiece in Rupert Murdoch's FOXNews. They have made media stars out of second-rate intellects like Newt and Dick Morris, people who should not have been given a second chance in our society after their wretched personal conduct, not to mention professional ( Morris cut his teeth with Jesse Helms). As far as shifting power back to where it was 2 centuries ago, do you really want us to be talking about whether only white males with property are entitled to vote? Things have never been clean and idyllic in our history, no matter what the Right Wing ways. Its always been hard, and bumpy, and sometimes ugly.
I cant wait till he's translates all this free publicity into another book – something with a quasi-patriotic, inspirational title – like, "Looking ahead: Profiles in leadership" Or, "Taking back America". There'll be a picture of Newt on the cover, with blue sky and puffy white clouds in the background and the American flag flying somewhere. He'll have that off-into-the-distance look in his eyes, and probably his hand over his heart.
And every word will be complete and utter certifiable nonsense. And he'll make millions. This is why politics is broken broken broken. Once he's done pushing his delusional revisionist BS, he'll go an an inspirational speaking tour, and for $30 bucks a head they'll fill auditoriums with people willing to listen to his blatherings. He'll make another mint. Then they'll use him for fundraising, etc...
This is how we reward failed idiots. And this is why i cant stomach politicians anymore.