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Combative Gingrich vows to fight on despite loss

posted 5 Feb 2012, 04:55 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 Feb 2012, 04:56 ]

Republican Presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich, remains defiant despite loss in the Nevada Caucus.

efiant Newt Gingrich vowed on Saturday (February 4) to continue in the 2012 Republican primary race and predicted that he could pull even with Mitt Romney in the delegate count within two months.
Romney, the front-runner cruised to an easy victory in Nevada, crushing his three remaining rivals and taking firm command of the party's volatile presidential nominating race.

Romney captured 44 percent of the vote with about 43 percent of precincts counted, taking about a 20-point lead over his closest rivals, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Representative Ron Paul, who were battling for second place.

The victory was Romney's second in a row and his third in the first five contests in the state-by-state battle to find a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in November's general election. It propels Romney into the next contests - in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri on Tuesday - on a huge wave of momentum.

Gingrich held a news conference after the results were announced to head off any speculation that he might put an early end to his campaign.

"I'm not going to withdraw," Gingrich told reporters, repeating his frequent vow to continue his campaign all the way to the nominating convention in Florida in August.

"I'm actually pretty happy with where we are, and I think the contrast between Governor Romney and me is going to get wider and wider, and clearer and clearer, over the next few weeks."

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, took control of the Nevada contest early after recapturing his front-runner status with a convincing win over Gingrich in Florida last Tuesday. He benefited from a huge financial and organizational edge in Nevada, which he won with 51 percent of the vote during his failed 2008 presidential bid. With a faltering economy and a big bloc of Mormon voters, the state was friendly terrain for Romney, a Mormon and former head of a private equity firm.

But Gingrich attacked his opponent on his record during his press conference in Las Vegas, which followed Romney's celebratory speech earlier in the evening.

"There are some very big differences evolving in this campaign as we move forward. I also believe that the vast majority of Republicans across the country are going to want an alternative to a Massachusetts moderate who has in his career has been pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase, and who ranked third from the bottom in creating jobs in the four years he was governor," explained Gingrich.

Gingrich, still bitter over losing a debate in Florida a week earlier, challenged Romney's integrity and questioned how he would fare against Obama.

"If you can't tell the truth as a candidate for president, how can the country possibly expect you to lead as a president? And I, frankly, was stunned. I make no bones about this. In the second Florida debate, I had nothing to say, because I had never before seen a person who I thought was a serious candidate for president be that fundamentally dishonest, and it was blatant and it was deliberate and he knew he was doing it," he said.

Romney hopes Nevada will kick off a February winning streak that could position him for a knockout blow to Gingrich during the 10 "Super Tuesday" contests on March 6 - or sooner.

Gingrich hopes to hang in the race until March, when there will be contests in several southern states where the former Georgia congressman and U.S. House of Representatives speaker believes he can do well. He said his goal was to pull approximately even with Romney in delegates after the Texas contest in early April.

"Our commitment is to seek to find a series of victories which will by the end of the Texas primary will leave us about parity with Governor Romney and from that point forward to see if we can't actually win the nomination," said Gingrich

Gingrich campaigned in Nevada but did not spend any money on advertising in the state. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who finished a distant fourth in Nevada, skipped the state entirely.

Gingrich was upbeat, telling reporters they should "take a few hours off from politics" to watch Sunday's NFL Super Bowl, as he finished his press conference.

Nevada's caucuses were held at 125 sites around the state, with voters breaking up into small groups by precinct to tout their candidates and debate their choices.

Based on the primaries, the Republican Party will officially nominate their candidate for president at a convention in Tampa at the end of August.