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March 05, 2012

Newt Gingrich looking past Super Tuesday


GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich expects to finish third in Ohio. (UPI/David Tulis)

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Newt Gingrich predicted a third-place finish in this week's Ohio primary but said he would otherwise emerge from Super Tuesday in good shape.

Gingrich portrayed himself on the Sunday talk shows as a fit-and-focused survivor of the campaign trail who would be in position to bag the Republican presidential nomination.

"This is going to go on for a good while," Gingrich said on ABC's "This Week." "Governor Romney, who's outspent all the rest of us by multiples, is a front-runner without any question, but I think he's not a very convincing front-runner, and he's a long way from having closed out this race."

Gingrich said that while he would probably finish behind Romney and Rick Santorum in Ohio, he expected to win big in his home state of Georgia and would contend in other major states down the road, such as California and Texas.

Gingrich said he wasn't overly concerned with Santorum's recent surge, saying he had seen leaders such as Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain steal the spotlight temporarily.

Gingrich told CNN's "State of the Union" that Santorum had focused recently on lightly contested states that produced victories that were latched onto by the media. "

"He was running fourth in every single primary," Gingrich said. "Suddenly, he very cleverly went to three states nobody else went to, and he became the media darling and bounced back."

Gingrich said that by remaining consistent in his appeal to the voters would pay off as the primaries wear on. "I think I'm beginning to come back to my real job which is to be sort of the visionary conservative who offers bigger, better solutions for the future," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "That's what I do best. Twice that's put me in the lead nationally, and now I have got to convert that into delegates."

Gingrich said his big ideas, particularly on energy policy, will be given a boost among the voters by the recent surge in gasoline prices, which he warned could derail the U.S. economy by the end of summer. "The president is going to go into the fall with very expensive gasoline, a weakening economy, a disastrously bad policy in the Middle East and a trillion-dollar deficit," said Gingrich. "I think that's a pretty heavy burden for the president of the United States to carry for re- election."

Gingrich also predicted on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Obama would face a united Republican Party at the end of the day despite the current intra-party sniping on the campaign trail. "Whoever the nominee is, we're going to work together to defeat Barack Obama, period," he said. "People shouldn't be at all confused about that."

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