On the eve of the Florida primary last month, Newt Gingrich called on Rick Santorum to drop out of the race and consolidate the conservative vote. Now that Santorum is surging and Gingrich is trailing, Gingrich said on Sunday that he’s not volunteering to drop out to achieve the same aim.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, where he was played a television clip of his speech asking Santorum to drop, he was asked if he should leave the race and throw his support behind Santorum.
“I think you should have played Rick’s answer here,” he told host Chris Wallace, “which is no.”
Gingrich said he would not object to new candidates entering the fray at this late date. “I have no problem with anybody who wants to run,” he said.
If Mitt Romney loses the Michigan primary, it will undermine the “rationale” for his candidacy, Gingrich said. “There’s a whole rationale which he is now built on, which is his ability to win,” he said.
Gingrich, who has acknowledged that he may lose in his own home state of Georgia, said it would be a bad sign if he lost that state’s election. But doing so would not be as fatal as a Romney loss in Michigan, he said.
“Given the chaos in this race, I’m not willing to say anything,” he said when asked if a loss in Georgia would be a reason to withdraw himself. “But I am willing to say I think it is extraordinarily important to carry your own state.”