Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich says although he came in second in the two southern primary contests Tuesday it remains a three-man race and the more rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum attack each other “the more attractive I’ll look.” The former House speaker also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Wednesday he does not plan to shift his campaign strategy and will continue offering the American public “big ideas.”
“I think that we have no idea how this is going to work out — we have never seen a nominating process like this in our lifetime — I think it’s very possible we’re going to be at the end of all the primaries on June 26 and have nobody at 1,144 [delegates],” Gingrich said. “And then we’re going to have a conversation about who would be the best person to defeat Barack Obama, and equally important, who’d be the best person to solve America’s problems and to move us in the right direction.”
“So next week in Louisiana is only half-time — we literally have half of all the delegates left to come. . . . I’m third among the three, but we’re continuing to campaign, continuing to develop ideas,” he said. “And I have a hunch that just as has happened in the past, the more we watch Romney and Santorum fight, the more attractive I’ll look, and the more I will regain strength as people look at my solutions, rather than politics as usual.”
Van Susteren noted that in Illinois — which holds its primary next Tuesday and is President Barack Obama’s adopted home state — there is a large Hispanic population, which the incumbent swept in 2008 and she wondered how Gingrich would appeal to the critical demographic.
“We’re going to have a roundtable tomorrow with Hispanic leaders here in Illinois — and part of that roundtable’s going to be economics,” Gingrich said. “How do we create jobs, and how do we keep taxes low, and how do we get energy costs down so they actually have the money for their family, instead of having to pay all of it for gasoline.
“I think that there’s a general agreement among Hispanic leaders that I have made the most serious effort to find a common-sense solution on immigration,” he said. “I am for controlling the border — I am for English as the official language of government — but I’m also for modernizing the visa system, for a guest-worker program, and for finding a solution for people who’ve been here a long time.
“The Republican Party has to be prepared to truly become a party of all Americans and to truly reach out to Americans of all backgrounds — whether they’re Asian American, or they’re Hispanic American, or African American, or Native American,” Gingrich continued. “You cannot be a governing majority in the long run unless you try to serve and work with every group in the country.”
Van Susteren asked Gingrich how he planned to reach out to another growing demographic — the gay community, which consistently votes Democratic.
“Well, look, I think the general policies we have on national security, on taxes, on job creation — there are a lot of areas where we can appeal to people beyond sexual orientation,” Gingrich said. “If the only issue they vote on is gay marriage, then probably they’re going to feel uncomfortable — because I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and I am committed to the classic Christian concept of what a marriage is.
“But that question is: If that's the only issue they vote on, that’s one thing. If it’s one of a number of issues — you know, again, you look around the country, this is the worst economy and unemployment since the Great Depression,” the former House speaker added. “There are a lot of folks who are going to look at other issues and say: ‘Well, we'll argue about those next time. This time, I want somebody who’s going to help create jobs.’”
The Fox News host then turned to Gingrich’s courting the African-American vote and his strategy to increase employment among blacks and revitalize the nation’s deteriorating urban centers.
“I think I was the first Republican candidate to campaign in an African-American church in Columbia, South Carolina. I’m very eagerly talking with a number of African-American leaders, and I’m convinced that when you have 43 percent black teenage unemployment, there are a lot of church leaders or a lot of neighborhoods — there are a lot of folks who want to work with you,” Gingrich said.
“You talk to African-American congressmen like Tim Scott, Allen West — they’ll tell you that they believe there's a real opportunity for Republicans to reach out. Herman Cain is a very strong supporter of mine — I’ve worked for years with [former Republican National Committee Chairman] Michael Steele — J.C. Watts is a very strong supporter of mine,” he said. “I think you can make a case I’ve had a more methodical effort to include African Americans in my campaign than any other Republican has — and I think that’s a part of this that I’m very proud of.”
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