MOBILE, Ala. – As he criss-crosses Alabama and Misssisippi this weekend, Newt Gingrich is trying to make the case that he’s the only presidential candidate who truly understands the South – partly by invoking his familiarity with one of its culinary staples.
“I have had grits before,” he told a crowd at a Mobile café on Saturday morning, making a not-so-subtle knock on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s joking admission to an audience that he was starting to like the favorite Southern food.
The former House speaker contended that was evidence of a larger problem facing his rival: “I figure if you don’t understand grits, there’s a pretty high likelihood that you don’t understand the rest of the South, either.”
With some recent polls showing a tight race in both states, Gingrich is traveling extensively across the region – he has five events scheduled on Saturday alone -- in the hopes of increasing turnout, which he said can boost his chances.
“We have momentum, but we haven't won,” he told a crowd at his second café stop of the day – Mama Lou’s in Robertsdale. “We still have to go out and finish the sale, we have to make sure, particularly in a county like this that has such a huge Republican vote, we need to make sure that everybody understands the opportunity.”