Newt Gingrich Suggests That Santorum and Perry Should Drop Out and Support Him

Newt Gingrich came clean Tuesday afternoon, admitting that if he can’t win this state’s primary on Saturday, he probably can’t win the Republican nomination at all.

Newt Gingrich suggested that both Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was at 6 percent in the latest poll, should drop out and support him. New Hampshire Public Radio/Flickr

“If I don’t win the primary Saturday, we will probably nominate a moderate,” the former House speaker said, referring to Mitt Romney. “And the odds are fairly high he will lose to Obama.”

Gingrich stepped up his attacks on both Santorum and Romney.

According to The Huff Post, he suggested that both Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was at 6 percent in the latest poll, should drop out and support him.

“From the standpoint of the conservative movement, consolidating into a Gingrich candidacy would in fact virtually guarantee victory on Saturday, and I’d be delighted if either Perry or Santorum would do that. They have to make that decision,” Gingrich said.

Santorum called Gingrich’s suggestion “arrogant” and reminded reporters that he bested the speaker in both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

“It is an enormous amount of hubris for someone who lost their first two races,” to imply that he should be the presumptive choice for conservatives, Santorum said of Gingrich.

Rick Santorum and his supporters insist that the former Pennsylvania senator can and will keep his candidacy alive even if Romney wins the Palmetto state and goes on to win Florida on Jan. 31.

“Why are you guys so fixated on the length,” Santorum snapped at a reporter who asked if his bid could end this week in South Carolina. “Let’s just do me a favor: We will take this one election at a time and then I will talk to you after this election about what we are going to do in the next election.”

Asked if Gingrich should drop out to make way for Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator said he would not ask any of the other candidates to exit the race until they were ready to do so, reports ABC News.

“I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to suggest that anybody gets out of this race and I won’t suggest anybody gets out of this race. These are character issues,” he said. “I believe everybody has the right to be in this race if they want to be in this race and fight as hard as they want for as long as they want and that’s how this process works. I’m not into political games. I’m not into political deals.”

The most recent poll of South Carolina voters held little good news for either Gingrich or Santorum, showing Romney at 33 percent, compared with Gingrich’s 22 percent and Santorum’s 14 percent.

Gingrich also said he could win a general election showdown with President Barack Obama, but Santorum could not.

“You could make a pretty good case I actually know how to design a national campaign. I actually know how to set up a conservative alternative to Obama,” Gingrich said in Florence. “I don’t think Santorum can win. It’s not because he’s not a nice guy, but he doesn’t have any of the knowledge of how to do something like this.”

Santorum spent the day portraying himself as a “bold alternative” to President Obama, chiding Mitt Romney and even Gingrich as being too politically close to the president on a range of issues. He described Romney as “timid” and Gingrich as “all over the place.”

“We have Gov. Romney, who is timid and isn’t what the country needs,” Santorum told a group of Republican activists in Aiken. “And you have Newt, who is bold, but all over the place: attacking capitalism, supporting capitalism; attacking global warming, for global warming. We need someone who is bold and consistent. That’s why I believe we’re the alternative, and we’ll see what South Carolina puts forward.”

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