Lutz, Florida (CNN) – Seeking to shore up conservative support in what he promised would be a long nomination fight, Newt Gingrich on Sunday sought to cast Republican presidential opponent Mitt Romney as a liberal.
"I just think it will be very, very clear, increasingly clear over the next few weeks that this party is not going to nominate somebody who is a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase liberal. It's not going to happen," Gingrich said Sunday in reference to what he called past stances Romney has held.
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Two polls released over the weekend show Romney building a comfortable lead over Gingrich in Florida. According to a poll conducted by The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9, Romney is ahead in every region in the state, with the two front-runners closest in the conservative North.
In Tampa Bay, where Gingrich attended a Sanctity of Life Sunday service at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Romney is leading by 16 percentage points.
Despite the polls showing a difficult path ahead, Gingrich said he intends to take the nomination fight "all the way to the convention." He noted that the polls show the combined support for him and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, another conservative in the race, eclipses Romney's top-place standing in the state.
"We have no evidence yet that Romney anywhere is coming close to getting a majority and I think when you take all of the non-Romney votes, it's very likely that at the convention there will be a non-Romney majority and maybe a very substantial one. My job is to convert that into a pro-Gingrich majority," Gingrich told reporters after the church service.
Gingrich indicated he might approach Santorum about dropping out in order to consolidate the conservative vote, but not right away. Santorum canceled campaign events Sunday after his 3-year-old daughter was admitted to the hospital the evening before.
Gingrich said it would be inappropriate to discuss Santorum's possible withdrawal at this time, but suggested the two candidates may talk after Florida's primary on Tuesday.
"This would be a totally inappropriate time to do anything like that," Gingrich said. "Rick's going to get a decent vote (on Tuesday). I have no doubt the two of us are going to collectively outscore Romney. At that point it may be a pretty good conversation."