Elections 2012: Newt Gingrich Struggles to Stop Surging Mitt Romney in Florida

Republican Newt Gingrich struggled to halt surging rival Mitt Romney’s momentum on Sunday, accusing him of launching false attacks as polls showed Romney widening his lead two days before Florida’s presidential primary.

Republican Newt Gingrich struggled to halt surging rival Mitt Romney's momentum yesterday, accusing him of launching false attacks as polls showed Mitt Romney widening his lead two days before Florida's presidential primary. Photo: Patrick Gense/Flickr

As the Florida Republican primary campaign winds to a conclusion, the only disagreement among the polls is the size of Mitt Romney’s lead.

A flurry of final polls released over the weekend shows the former Massachusetts governor leading former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by margins that approach or reach double digits.

10 different polls have shown Gingrich’s support falling dramaticallyand Romney pulling ahead by an average of 11 points, reports The Huff Post.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich continues to attack his mail rival. “I believe the Republican Party will not nominate a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase moderate from Massachusetts,” Gingrich said after attending a Baptist church on Sunday in Lutz, Florida.

“They will not nominate somebody who raises millions from Wall Street to run ads that are false,” he said. “So this is going to be a straight out contest for the next four or five months.”

He attacked Romney with renewed aggression from morning to night on Sunday, lacerating him after a stop at a megachurch in the Tampa suburbs, and then hopping on a Tea Party-organized conference call Sunday night to label Romney a “Massachusetts liberal who was for abortion, for tax increases and for gun control.”

And he launched preemptive strikes at the voices who will say his campaign is over if he loses by double digits on Tuesday.

“I think this is going to be a straight-out contest for the next four or five months,” Gingrich said.

According to Reuters, earlier, in appearances on two national talk shows, Gingrich accused Romney of distorting his record.

“He has a basic policy of carpet-bombing his opponent,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I give Governor Romney’s campaign due respect for the sheer volume of negativity that they use and the sheer amount of money they raise on Wall Street.”

Gingrich also went after Romney Sunday morning in appearances on the political talk shows, blaming his own misfortune over the past week on Romney’s duplicity.

“He would not be where he is today, the debates this week wouldn’t have been where they were, if he had told the truth,” Gingrich said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I don’t know how you debate a person with civility if they’re prepared to say things that are just plain factually false.”

Romney told supporters in Naples, Florida, that Gingrich was making excuses and should take a look in the mirror.

“My own view is that the reason Speaker Gingrich has been having a hard time in Florida is the people of Florida have watched the debates and listened to the speaker, have listened to the other candidates, and have said, ‘You know what? Mitt Romney’s the guy we’re gonna support,'” he said.

“As I watch Speaker Gingrich flailing about and casting about and attacking, I have to think that he’s seeing a diminution of support and recognizing he’s in trouble here,” Romney said.

At the same time more and more people notice that the GOP debates start looking ridiculous. Chris Wallace on Saturday said what many journalists, television viewers and probably the GOP candidates are thinking.

“It is ridiculous how many debates there have been–this is the nineteenth debate,” he said on the Mike Gallagher Show, referring to Thursday night’s Republican debate. “It is insane that there have been nineteen debates!”

Wallace isn’t alone in his criticism of the GOP debates, reports The Huff Post. Karl Rove has said that the “debates have nearly crippled campaigns, chewing into the precious time each candidate has to organize, raise money, set themes, roll out policy and campaign.”

Despite pushback, several more debates have been scheduled, including ones on February 22nd, March 1st and March 5th.

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